Sometimes persistence pays off, as it did for Hartsdale resident Michael Marks.
Marks won the “$10,000 a Week for Life” lottery after playing various scratch-off games and daily numbers for almost five decades.
Marks, 66, recalls the late August day when he bought the winning ticket at the A-Plus convenience store, part of the Sunoco gas station on N. Central Avenue.
“That particular day I happened to go have lunch with some friends in Somers,” Marks said. “On the way back as I usually do — it was roughly 3 p.m. — I came into the store and got an assortment of scratch-off tickets.”
Marks said he previously won $500 playing the “$10,000 a Week for Life” scratch-off. However, he said, he “felt lucky” that day.
“I felt I was due for a jackpot and my dreams were answered,” he said.
Marks said he usually starts scratching at the top of the board. Then he makes his way down the card moving from left to right.
“I couldn’t believe when it matched and said ‘Life’,” he said.
Marks said he got so nervous he had to verify his victory at the New York Lottery machine in the store. Once he verified his winnings, he asked the store clerk for a pen and rushed into the bathroom to sign the ticket.
“I left immediately, went home, hid the ticket and for the next three to four nights I kept waking up every hour looking at the ticket to see if this really happened,” he said.
New York Lottery TV personality Yolanda Vega, who presented Marks with the “$10,000 a Week for Life” certificate Sept. 21 at the A-Plus store, asked Marks if he told anyone about his winnings.
“Only my immediate family and one close friend,” Marks said. “I actually kept it under wraps.”
That one friend was Barry Charles, Marks close friend and accountant.
Charles, a certified public accountant in Hartsdale for 30 years, said he remembers when Marks called him.
“I could hear him shaking in his voice,” Charles said. “It was very exciting.”
He said he plans to help Marks work around some of the taxes associated with the lottery winnings.
Marks chose to receive his winnings in yearly installments of $525,000 before taxes which would result in an annual net check of $349,336.
According to the New York Lottery, Marks is guaranteed a minimum of $10 million. Therefore, if he lives long enough to receive up to $10 million before taxes, the New York Lottery will continue to send his yearly check of $349,336.
If he were to die before making it to the $10 million mark, the New York Lottery would send the difference to whatever estate Marks sets up to take over the payments after his death.
Asked if he expects a lot of phone calls once friends and family find out about his winnings, Marks said, “I hope not.”
He said he is only responding to contacts he has already saved in his cellphone.
This isn’t the first time Marks won at the A-Plus store. He won $10,000 in the Benjamins Scratch-off Game in 2017 and previously won $500 in a Loose Change Scratch-off.
Gurprwet Singh, a store clerk at A-Plus for five years, sold Marks each of his many winning tickets.
“I’m his lucky charm,” Singh said with a smile.
Marks said he’s lived in Hartsdale for most of his life. He used to sell printing paper but, as computers became more prominent, Marks decided to retire in 2012.
After his retirement, he committed his time to taking care of his parents until they passed away.
He remembers buying his first Loose Change ticket at the age of 16. He was working as a soda clerk at Margie’s luncheonette in Ardsley.
After that first ticket, Marks said, playing the lottery eventually became a “hobby and a habit.”
Marks said he plans to invest his money “in hopes that it grows for [his] friends and family.”
He also plans to invest in a few fun things, such as a new leather jacket, a car and a family trip.