HOWARD BEACH, Queens (PIX11) — From handyman to mega-millionaire man. A longtime Howard Beach resident has hit the jackpot big time.
Johnnie Taylor, 71, wasn’t even talking to his neighbors about his mega winning, a record-setting $476 million jackpot.
Taylor opted for the lump sum payment of $157,288,402 after all the required state and federal taxes are taken out.
“I feel really happy for my neighbor,” Antonia Lilly, who lives on the same floor, told PIX11 News. “Honestly, he really deserves this. He’s a really good person. No troubles here.”
A well-known Howard Beach resident who founded the Facebook group Howard Beach Dads chimed in.
“The is incredible,” PJ Marcel told PIX11 News. “The community is so happy that someone in this neighborhood won that size jackpot. God bless them.”
Taylor recently retired as a building handyman in Manhattan. He told lottery officials he wants to travel, buy a new home, replace his 2012 Prius with a newer model hybrid and donate to his local church.
“We actually go to the same church, Saint Helen’s, and he has two little dogs, cute little Shih Tzus,” Catherine Grimaldi, a neighbor, told PIX11 News. “He’s a very good neighbor, and he deserves this.”
“We always say hello in the elevator; always a gentleman, always holds the door. They’re really nice people,” another neighbor, Gayle Petrinas, added.
Liberty Beer and Convenience Store will receive a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
“I don’t get nothing even though I sold the winning ticket,” Deepak Parekh, a clerk at the store, told PIX11 News.
He said the owner of the store gets the money.
“I don’t know why I didn’t win,” Cyrus Pepple, buying a lottery ticket, told PIX11 News. “I’d be in a castle or a beach somewhere.”
“I’m sorry it wasn’t me, but I’ve got the winner here, the next winner,” another lottery ticket buyer, Manny Martinez, added.