A lucky Aberdeen man received the biggest Christmas present he ever hoped for.

Leo Thomas won a $1 million lottery prize on Christmas Eve, according to a news release from the North Carolina Education Lottery.

“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to me!” said the retired post office worker. “It’s awesome. It’s a beautiful day.”

Thomas bought a $10 “Win it All” scratch-off ticket while buying gas at the Southern Pines Quality Mart on Old U.S. Highway 1.

“I couldn’t think at first,” Thomas said. “I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My wife thought I was having a heart attack when I called because I couldn’t talk.”

Thomas claimed his prize at lottery headquarters in Raleigh Monday.

Choosing the lump sum payment of $600,000, he took home $424,503 after taxes. Thomas said he is going to buy a new car for his wife and bank the rest.


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