Jackson amputee wins $1M in state lottery

Jackson amputee wins $1M in state lottery (Image 1)

One lucky lottery winner is a million dollars richer Tuesday afternoon.

Thomas Ridenhour, from Jackson, Tennessee, bought the winning ticket on Friday night from a convenience store.

Ridenhour said he only plays the lottery from time to time, hoping like many, to hit it big one day.

It took him just a few seconds to scratch off the numbers on the Millionaire Jumbo Bucks card before he won.

“At first I thought it was a $1,000 ticket, because I hadn't scratched all the way across,” explained Ridenhour. “As I kept scratching, I was just like 'Oh my goodness, I cannot believe this is a million dollar ticket I am holding in my hand'.”

Ridenhour called his friend, Steve Massey right afterwards to tell him the unbelievable news.

Massey told Nashville's News 2, “I could tell something was up, so I said 'What's up?' and he said 'I just won a million dollars.' I said 'Yeah right', and he said 'No, I really did'.”

Ridenhour's life changed in an instant with the lucky number 29.

“Absolute, total disbelief,” said Ridenhour. “A true blessing from God, to be very honest with you.”

It's not the first time fate has played a role in his life.

Three years ago, Ridenhour's life also changed in an instant.

“I got bit my a brown recluse spider,” he said. “Which was in my shoe and I ended up spending about 100 days in the hospital. They did end up amputating my right leg.”

Doctors told him he might never walk again, but Ridenhour said he wouldn't accept life in a wheelchair.

He learned to walk again with a prosthetic.

“I live a pretty simple life,” said Ridenhour. “I don't do any extravagant things, just plan on giving me just a little cushion and relief.”

Ridenhour said his only plan for a big purchase is a car. He wants to put the rest of the money in savings and continue working in the paint department at the Lowe's in his town.

“I love that employment. I love the job and I love the people and the friends. They have all supported me and prayed for me,” Ridenhour told Nashville's News 2.

“Good things happen to good people,” added Massey, who drove Ridenhour to Nashville to pick up his check. “He's a good guy, had a lot of bad things happen to him. Funny how things happen. He deserved it.”

Rebecca Hargrove, the CEO and President of the Tennessee Lottery, told Nashville's News 2 this is a very special milestone for them since Ridenhour is the 100th person to win $1 million or more through the Tennessee Lottery.

“It's exciting for us and all of the people who play help us raise money for college scholarships,” said Hargrove. “We've raised 2.5 billion, and if we didn't have 100 winners of $1 million dollars or more, we wouldn't raise as many dollars.”

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