Meet TiYahna Bambaata – The New Jersey Liquor Store Clerk Who Sold a Mega Millions Ticket Worth $1.13 Billion


TiYahna Bambaata has no idea who bought a $1.13 billion Mega Millions ticket from her at a New Jersey liquor store.

But for a brief moment, the employee held the life-changing winning ticket in her hand before handing it over to the lucky customer – who has yet to be identified.

“It's exciting. I'm happy that someone in my hometown (won),” Bambaataa said NJ Advance Media said Wednesday at the Neptune Township ShopRite Liquor store on Route 66.

“There were a few people coming in and out last night. I can’t remember who it was,” she added.

Lottery officials said the winner chose his numbers by hand rather than letting the computer generate them randomly.

Tiahana Bambaataa, 27, sold the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket in Neptune Township, New Jersey. Aristide Economopoulos
Tiana Bambaataa said she couldn't remember exactly who she told about the ticket. Doug Hood/USA Today Network

“I try to go back and remember… but I have absolutely no idea,” said the 27-year-old college student, who is studying to become a physician assistant.

Bambaataa has worked at the store for three years part-time, and is also the niece of Neptune Township Mayor Tacy York, according to the outlet.

The jackpot has ballooned for 15 weeks after 31 straight drawings without a winner since Dec. 8, when two men in California split the $395 million jackpot.

The winning ticket was sold at a ShopRite Liquor store in Neptune Township, New Jersey. Aristide Economopoulos
James Carey Jr., Executive Director of the NJ Lottery, presents ShopRite owner Richard Saker with an additional check for $30,000. Aristide Economopoulos

It is the 24th winning Mega Millions ticket from New Jersey and only the sixth jackpot to reach $1 billion. It was the fifth-largest jackpot in the history of the game, According to the lottery.

However, the winner has not yet been revealed — and may never be revealed since the Garden State signed a law four years ago allowing the winners to remain anonymous.

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“If you are the winner, I now encourage you to sign the back of the ticket, take a picture of it, make a copy of it, and put it in a safe place,” New Jersey Lottery Executive Director James A. Carrie Jr. said.

The winner has the option of either receiving $1.13 billion in annual installments over 30 years, or a one-time lump sum of $536.6 million.

The odds of winning Mega Millions are a staggering 1 in 302,575,350.

The store received a $30,000 bonus check for selling the winning ticket after Tuesday night's drawing. ShopRite President Richard Saker said the money will be donated to charity.

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