Never in his nearly three decades of paving, plowing and sanding roads for the Maine Department of Transportation did Robert Stuart ever dream that he would one day become a millionaire.

Robert Stuart of Kennebunk won $1 million on a scratch ticket. Photo courtesy Maine Lottery

But that is exactly what happened last month when the Kennebunkport resident, acting on a whim, decided to spend $25 on an “Ultimate Millions” scratch ticket at his favorite grocery store – the Hannaford supermarket in Kennebunk.

The 64-year-old widower and grandfather, who grew up in Kennebunkport and graduated from Kennebunk High School in 1972, still isn’t quite sure how he will spend his winnings, but he is certain about one thing: He won’t quit his job, at least not yet.

The Maine Lottery confirmed on Wednesday that Stuart won $1 million on a ticket he purchased from a lottery vending machine at Hannaford on April 28. After taxes, Stuart’s take-home check amounted to $710,000, the agency said.

Stuart, whose wife, Christine, died two years ago, said he will continue working for Hissong Ready-Mix & Aggregates in South Portland, where he operates a front-end loader at the company’s plant near Cash Corner. He retired from the Department of Transportation in 1999 after working 27 years as a dump-truck driver, traversing the roads and highways across York County and southern Maine.

Stuart said he had not been planning to buy a lottery ticket the Sunday before last and was getting ready to leave the store with his groceries when he decided at the last minute to try his luck.

Stuart went into the parking lot with the ticket, got into his pickup truck and started to scratch off the numbers. He knew he had won some money, but as the line of zeros after the number “1” on the ticket kept getting longer, he began to feel light-headed. When he realized he had won $1 million, he started shaking.

“I said, ‘Whoa, wait a minute,’ ” Stuart recalled. Unable to contain his emotions, he called his eldest son, Gregory Stuart, who lives in Arundel. His son soon realized that his dad was not himself.

“I was in tears and screaming. I was wound for sound,” Stuart said. “I couldn’t believe I won. My son said, ‘Don’t move. I’ll be right down.’ ”

Stuart, who still uses an old-fashioned flip phone instead of a smartphone, said the money will not change him or his lifestyle. He is in the process of getting his camper ready for his annual summer trip to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, which hosts NASCAR racing – one of his favorite pastimes.

Stuart said he won’t be buying a new vehicle. He likes his 2018 pickup truck and it only has 10,000 miles on it. He may take a vacation, but even if he does, he has no idea where he would go.

For now, he is planning on celebrating by hosting a party at his home in Kennebunkport for friends and family. He has two adult sons, one adult daughter and six grandchildren. His kids all live locally and were thrilled to learn their dad had become a millionaire – at least before the government took its cut.

Stuart said he plans to share some of his winnings with his children and will invest the rest of his prize money after consulting with a financial adviser.

Stuart said his new celebrity status seems unreal, especially when he reflects on his days paving, plowing and sanding roads for the state. The hours were long and arduous, he said, but he added, “I’d go back if I could stand it.”

One of the first calls he got after news of his good fortune spread was from his boss. He asked Stuart what his plans were.

“I said I ain’t getting done, but I might not work as many hours,” Stuart said.

For now, he’s content working full-time shifts loading sand, crushed rock and gravel into dump trucks.

“I’m still going to work,” vowed Stuart, who has worked all his life. “I get bored when I take a vacation.”

And he doesn’t plan to stop playing the lottery.

He bought a lottery ticket Wednesday morning at the Irving gas station at Cash Corner in South Portland and said he won $100. As for the million-dollar prize, Stuart confessed that he is still in a mild state of shock.

“It’s something you can only dream about,” he said.

The Kennebunk Hannaford will receive a $10,000 bonus for selling Stuart the winning ticket.

Staff Writer Gillian Graham contributed to this report.

 

 

 

 


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