A 59-year-old homeless man named Dennis Mahurin who lives out of a tent in the woods in Bloomington, Ill. won $50,000 last week on a $3 scratch-off lotto ticket.
Dennis Mahurin, whose friends describe him as a "very decent gentleman" with an "awesome sense of humor," told ABC News that he plans to share his winnings with others in his tent community. Having lived in a tent for more than 30 years, Dennis Mahurin said that he has no intention of leaving the lifestyle
he has grown accustomed to, though he will purchase a new tent for himself.
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"I've always said God has a plan for me, I just didn't know it. Now the door is starting to open," Mahurin told ABC News. "I'm paying it forward. And all the guys camped out back there, I'm gonna give them each a hundred dollars."
Greg Davis, a local pastor, was standing behind Mahurin at the Circle K gas station in Bloomington when Mahurin first found out he won.
"I was standing behind him and he asked, well did I win anything? The lady who was working there, her eyes were as big as saucers. She goes you won $50,000. Dennis looked dumbfounded. He didn’t say anything and then he asked, 'Are you sure?' and she said, 'Yes, I am sure.'
"The funny part about this was that he was so shocked, he was just standing there going 'wow' and saying 'Oh my gee,'" Davis said.
Sandra Rankin, the gas station's manager who has been working there for seven years, told ABC News that she has never seen a customer claim such a large amount there before.
"When I got the phone call I was jumping up and down and mostly it was because of who it went to," Rankin said. "He is a great guy, has an awesome sense of humor. I care deeply for him, and he is a very decent gentleman. He comes into my store three to four times a day."
Rankin said Mahurin has won two $1,000 tickets on previous occasions, and in the past used his winnings to visit his sons and grandkids who live outside of Ill.
Mike Lang, the state's lottery spokesman, told ABC News that Mahurin would receive a check for $35,000 after taxes in about three to four weeks, once the ticket has been verified.
The check will be sent to Mahurin’s friend’s mother’s house, since he has no home address.
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