Ervin Smolinski has a birthday tradition — he gets lottery tickets as presents.
A World War II veteran won $300,000 in the Michigan Lottery when his daughter-in-law purchased the winning ticket and gave it to the 94-year-old man for his birthday.
The thought of buying the senior citizen a ticket was born out of a practice Ervin Smolinski, of South Branch, started, according to a Lottery release.
“Every month, I buy some instant tickets and send them as gifts to family members who have birthdays that month,” Smolinski said. “It’s turned in to a bit of a tradition, and now everyone sends me scratch offs and chocolate for my birthday.”
Smolinski went straight to the winning ticket, scratching it off first. His age helped temper his reaction. “I had four Double Bonus Cashword tickets and the big winner was the first one I scratched,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot in my time, and I don’t get worked up too easily. I think my son-in-law was more worked up than I was.”
— Michigan Lottery (@MILottery) March 21, 2017
He claimed his prize on Tuesday, and says his simple lifestyle will not be altered by the good fortune.
“I’m pretty frugal, I always shop sales and take care of my money and that won’t change. The only thing that will change is I won’t have as much stress in my life worrying about money,” Smolinski said.