When 20-year-old Shane sat down for coffee with his father one Friday morning, it seemed like a normal day. But what his dad didn’t know was that Shane had just become several hundred million dollars richer. And that was just the beginning of good things to come.
Shane Missler lives with his family in Port Richey, a suburb of Tampa, Florida. He has been in the Sunshine State for a few years, but his family is originally from Maine. He still misses the East Coast, as he’s a fan of all things New England - from the Patriots to the Boston Celtics. He had no idea he was about to get a chance to get back to his roots.
Shane likes to play the lottery regularly. Perhaps that has something to do with his personality, as he’s very optimistic and positive. His Twitter and Instagram accounts are full of inspirational quotes and uplifting messages, and his bio states: “I wake up every day saying Thank You.” Perhaps his positivity is what brought him good luck.
On Friday, January 5th, Shane walked into the 7-Eleven at 7131 Ridge Road in Pasco County. He had some money leftover from a scratch-off lottery game he had won a few days earlier. He decided to buy five quick-pick Mega Millions tickets. The drawing was to take place later that same day.
The winning combination was 28, 30, 39, 59, 70 and the Mega Ball, 10. It came on the fourth set of numbers. Half an hour after the drawing, Shane found out he had won. “Oh. My. God,” was all he wrote on his Facebook page. The first thing he did was call his brother to give him the news. Next he wanted to tell his father, but decided not to do it over the phone.
The next day, Shane called his dad and invited him for coffee. Once they were together, he broke the news about his lottery win. His father was as incredulous as Shane was when he first found out. But his jaw almost hit the floor when he learned how much the total jackpot was, especially because Shane had the sole winning ticket.
The Mega Millions jackpot that Shane had just won was a whopping $451 million. According to Florida Lottery officials, it was the fourth largest jackpot ever given by Mega Millions, a lottery that is played in 44 states of the country, as well as Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Given the mind-boggling amount, Shane’s dad knew he had to be careful.
Shane’s father suggested that he get a lawyer, and his son agreed. The next week, Shane was accompanied by his dad and his lawyer, Walt Blenner, to turn in his ticket. He had always wanted to fly on a private jet, so he decided to rent one to fly to Tallahassee, where the Florida Lottery headquarters are located. In an interesting twist, he chose to only take half of the prize money.
Mega Millions winners can receive their prize either in 30 annual installments, or as a considerably lower lump sum. Shane opted for the latter, which brought the amount down to $281 million - almost the same as Taylor Swift’s net worth. After the 25% withheld for federal income taxes, Shane will go home with $211,406,249.25. And what does he plan to do with it?
The first thing Shane did after receiving his prize was quit his job at a local background screening company. He plans to move away from Tampa Bay, and knows that he needs to plan for the future: "I intend to take care of my family, have some fun along the way and cement a path for financial success,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. Shane is also taking his father’s advice to be careful.
At his lawyer’s suggestion Shane asked the Lottery to pay the money to a trust set up with him as the managing member. He’s also learning to administer it properly. "I’ve had a crash course this week in financial management and I feel so fortunate to have this incredible wealth and team behind me,” he stated. It seems Shane’s head is firmly on his shoulders, and those who know him would agree.
"I can’t see this going off the rails for somebody like him,” said Larry Thornton, Shane’s high school soccer coach in Jay, Maine. Thornton recalls Shane as being rather mature as a teen and as a leader who always made everyone feel welcome. Indeed, Shane’s maturity seems to shine through in all his interactions.
The day he turned in his winning ticket, Shane released a statement: "If there is one thing I have learned thus far in my short time on this earth it is that those who maintain a positive mindset and stay true to themselves get rewarded.” On Twitter, he thanked everyone for their positive thoughts. Meanwhile, Florida seems to be a hot spot for lottery winners.
New York Daily News
Shane’s ticket was the highest Mega Millions win in Florida history. In 2014, a $414 million jackpot was split between two winners, one of them in Florida and the other in Maryland. Back in 2013, an 84-year-old Pasco County resident was the sole winner of a $590.5 million Powerball drawing. But it’s likely that jackpots will keep getting bigger, as is the plan of Mega Millions administrators.
Last fall, Mega Millions executives decided to increase ticket prices along with the starting jackpot, in an effort to boost interest for the game with bigger winnings. Starting on October 28, 2017, Mega Millions tickets now cost $2 instead of $1, but the minimum jackpot increased from $15 million to $40 million.