Staten Island Insomniac Scratches His Way to Millions of Dollars


Up all night. (Flickr)
Up all night. (Flickr)

Money never sleeps.

And neither does Salvatore Gandolfo, 55, a former NYC Department of Finance worker living in Arden Heights. When the self-professed insomniac couldn’t sleep on April Fool’s Day, he got up, hopped into his car and bought a scratch-off lottery ticket that won him $7.5 million, he told the New York Post on Tuesday.

“That night, I was thinking about someone from my past, someone who is no longer here,” Mr. Gandolfo told the Post. “It was about 3 or 4 in the morning. I couldn’t sleep. I woke up and ate breakfast. I put on my clothes, got in my car and drove.”

Parking his Honda by the Richmond Deli & Grocery in Mariners Harbor, he got out, purchased a $25 Silver Spectacular stub, scratched its grayed surface and saw three words: “big ticket winner.”

At first, he thought there was something wrong with the ticket, because it usually reveals one of four symbols, either a coin, or the characters 5x, 10x or 25x, to indicate the number by which a winner should multiply the prize shown, according to the New York Lottery website. The site also says that the chances of winning the top prize of $7.5 million is 1 in 3,790,400.

A Silver Spectacular ticket. (New York Lottery)
A Silver Spectacular ticket. (New York Lottery)

“I was shocked when I realized I had won,” Mr. Gandolfo told the Post.

To celebrate, Mr. Gandolfo told the paper he gave a kid at the store a $20 bill and another stranger a $40 winning ticket. He opted to take home a lump sum of $4,672,800, instead of a series of payouts over the next 20 years, an option outlined in the New York Lottery Winner’s Handbook.

“I’m a simple man… the one thing I always wanted was happiness,” the overnight millionaire told the Post, adding that he wanted to spend the cash on travel, buying a new car and helping his relatives. “You can’t put a price on happiness but it makes me happy to help my family.”

And while he says he still has trouble sleeping, we’re pretty sure he won’t be counting sheep. Staten Island Insomniac Scratches His Way to Millions of Dollars