NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) - A Tennessee couple holding one of three winning tickets for this week’s record $1.6 billion U.S. Powerball lottery jackpot said on Friday they will keep their jobs because “you just can’t sit down and do nothing.”
Lisa and John Robinson of Munford, Tennessee, appeared at a press conference at the Tennessee Lottery’s offices with their adult daughter Tiffany and black and white dog Abby and said they would take their $528.8 million share in an immediate cash payment instead of annual payments over 29 years.
“We’re going to take the lump sum because we’re not guaranteed tomorrow,” John Robinson said.
They will pay off their two children’s student loans as well as their own mortgage and, after investing the rest of their new-found fortune, keep living in the same home, with the same jobs, in the Memphis suburb of Munford.
“Big fancy houses, elaborate houses, they’re nice. But you have to clean them,” John Robinson said.
Next week, he will return to his job at a distribution center and Lisa to her position at a dermatologist’s office, they said.
“That’s what we’ve done all our life. Work. You can’t just sit down and do nothing,” he said.
Robinson recalled buying the lucky ticket on Wednesday just hours before the Powerball drawing. His wife asked him to buy tickets on his way home from work, so, even though he didn’t feel well, he bought them at Naifeh’s Food Mart in Munford.
At home, he laid out the four tickets, one representing each family member, and took a nap. His wife kept an eye on the televised drawing and leapt up when she realized one of the tickets matched.
“I was running down the hallway screaming and crying,” Lisa Robinson recalled. “I said, ‘You have to check these numbers!’ He was asleep and was like, ‘Whaaa?'”
Once he had a good look at the ticket, he wanted to surprise Tiffany, who lives nearby. He tried to lure her over with a request that she bring him some headache medicine.
“She got someone else to bring it,” he sighed. His plan foiled, Robinson spilled the good news to her over the phone.
“I said ‘Tiffany, we got the winning numbers!’ She said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Yup’,” Robinson recalled.
He then consulted his brother, who works in finance and referred them to a financial advisor, who recommended a lawyer.
The couple, on their lawyer’s advice, agreed to travel to New York on Thursday night to appear on NBC’s Today show early on Friday. Saying they had slept only one hour in the last 48, they excused themselves from the press conference to get rest.
Holders of the two other winning tickets, which were sold in California and Florida, have yet to come forward.
Under lottery rules, a winner has up to a year to present a ticket. All three states with winners have laws requiring their names be released publicly, according to the Powerball website.
Reporting by Barbara Goldberg, Susan Heavey and Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Bill Trott and James Dalgleish