When Dean Thompson got home Saturday morning after working the night shift, he walked in and greeted his wife with a lottery ticket worth $1 million in his hand. He says the lucky win means that after 29 years of marriage he and his wife can make a purchase they’ve wanted to make for a long time.

“I’m going to buy my wife a house,” Thompson said Monday morning as he collected his prize at N.C. Education Lottery headquarters in Raleigh.

Thompson, a supervisor at a food manufacturing company, said when he stopped at the Murphy Express on West Vernon Avenue in Kinston he didn’t initially plan to play the lottery. But he decided on a whim to buy two instant tickets from the $4,000,000 Gold Bullion game. Sitting outside the store in his truck, Thompson began scratching the first ticket. First he saw a “Dollar Bill” symbol and when he scratched away to reveal the prize he saw it was $1 million.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Thompson said. “I had to sit there awhile, looking at it. Then I drove home and showed my wife the ticket.”

In the game, winners of the $1 million prize can choose to accept it as an annuity paying $50,000 a year for 20 years or take a lump sum payment of $600,000. Thompson said he chose the lump sum because he wanted to buy the house and pay off all his bills. After taxes were withheld, he received $408,006.

Thompson said he would also use some of his winnings to help the couple’s two grown daughters and perhaps take a small vacation.

As of Monday afternoon, one $4 million top prize, three $1 million prizes and two $100,000 top prizes remain to be claimed in the $4,000,000 Gold Bullion game.

Tickets sales for instant games have helped the lottery raise more than $3 billion to support education programs. Lottery dollars support teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction and repair projects, prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds, college scholarships and financial aid based on need and digital learning initiatives.

To see how lottery dollars have benefited Wayne County, go to the Where the Money Goes webpage at http://www.nc-educationlottery.org/beneficiary.aspx.