B. McNairn-Leader Staff
IROQUOIS–For two weeks, Williamsburg-area native Carl Van Allen went about his daily business, unaware that he was a millionaire.
On October 9, Van Allen purchased his regular weekly 6/49 Lottery ticket at Mustard’s Variety in Iroquois. On October 23, after having driven around for two weeks with the ticket in the console of his truck, he had the numbers checked, and that’s when he got the surprise of his life, the win in the Lotto 6/49 Guaranteed $1 Million prize draw.
Although a cruise may be in the works this winter, neither Van Allen, 62, nor his wife Ruby have plans to retire nor to make any big purchases. Carl is a longtime employee at Craig Packaging Ltd. in Iroquois, while Ruby works in retail in Morrisburg. Married 42 years, they have two children and five grandchildren.
Jim Mustard, owner of Mustard’s Variety, says “since day one, it’s been my dream to make someone’s dream come true and now it has.” It is also a great way for Jim to complete 24 years in business and to celebrate the upcoming 25th anniversary of Mustard’s Variety on January 3, 2014.
Mustard says he was present when Carl came in to have his tickets validated. “It was the same as usual. Erica [Mustard employee Erica Scott] always says, ‘how are you doing today’ and Carl always answers ‘I’ll know as soon as you check my tickets’.”
The next thing Mustard recalls is looking up and seeing a big printout coming out of the Lottery terminal. A message to Erica indicated she was to tell the customer not to leave the store. So, while they all knew Carl had won something big, at this point they didn’t know just how much.
“It felt like an hour, but it was probably only four or five minutes later that the phone rang and it was the Ontario Lottery Association,” says Jim.
After Jim and Carl answered the Lottery official’s questions, the ticket was run again and the $1 million result was officially revealed.
“I was numb,” says Carl. “Once I talked to the girl in Toronto, it kind of sunk in. That’s when I got exited.”
But not too excited as he headed home to give Ruby the news. “I bought a scratch ticket and gave that to her when I got home. After about 20 minutes, she finally sat down to the scratch ticket and won $12. When she let me know she had won the $12, I said ‘that’s great. $12 is good’. How would you like to win $1 million. She wouldn’t believe me at first.”
“I had goose bumps from it,” says Jim, with Erica adding, “ I was very excited. It was pure joy to watch his [Carl’s] face. It was amazing.”
Carl and Ruby are well-remembered for their hard work and their commitment to the Volley for Cancer event which they and a committee of volunteers ran for over 10 years on their farm (and eventually in Morrisburg). Over the years, Volley for Cancer raised thousands of dollars for cancer in memory of Carl’s mother.