11/28/12 — $500 million for Christmas?

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$500 million for Christmas?

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 28, 2012 1:46 PM


Wayne Silver, right, accepts his Powerball ticket from clerk Danny Edwards, left, at the Handy Mart convenience store at the intersection of U.S. 70 East and N.C. 111 South early today. With a jackpot of more than $500 million at stake, Silver said he figures his chances of winning are as good as anybody's.

Tyler Yarborough has already said his goodbyes -- to college loans, paying rent, dinners prepared in the microwave.

He has parted with the Honda he has been driving for nearly a decade -- to the ripped seat cushions and crackling sound system that make his morning commute to work "a drag."

He has accepted the fact that he will likely make new friends and take on new hobbies -- that his life is about to change dramatically.

"Comes with the territory," he quipped. "A millionaire's got to sacrifice."

Deep down the 24-year-old knows it's a fantasy -- that the odds of winning the record Powerball jackpot are daunting.

But like millions of Americans across the country, he, too, is daring to dream.

"Somebody's got to win," Tyler said. "So I might as well be prepared, I reckon."

A $500 million prize will be up for grabs tonight and Tyler is among those planning on watching the drawing unfold.

Mary Holloman is another.

The single mother said she "could certainly use the money."

"But who couldn't?" Mary asked. "It would be life-changing."

College for her little girl?


Prosperity for her parents?


A hefty donation to some of the organizations that have helped her along the way?

"I would definitely give back to the people who have helped me," Mary said. "They would never want for nothin'."

But not everyone who picked up a ticket this morning was thinking about others.

"They say that when people win the lottery, folks come out of the woodwork to get their piece of the pie," said Bryan Travis, a construction worker from Wake County who was passing through town. "Let 'em try to find me. I'm gonna be long gone."

Kay Thompson, the 53-year-old who was behind him in line, smiled.

"You got that right," she said.

But Kay acknowledged that $500 million -- minus the millions she would have to pay in taxes -- could go a long way toward helping others.

"I would certainly support some of the charities," she said. "I always thought it would be fun to be one of those people who slipped $1 million in the little box at church."

The fun wouldn't stop there.

"I just want to travel -- to leave and never look back," she said. "I want to see this wonderful world that God created before my time on Earth is through."

And winning the lottery could help her do it in style.

"A yacht," she said. "I'd sail everywhere."

One man, though, wasn't ready to make any extravagant plans.

In fact, what he would do with the money isn't why Aaron Reynolds plays the lottery.

He plays for the prospect of just the opposite.

"Nothing," he said, when asked what he would do if his numbers were called tonight. "Ain't that the point?"