Arlington resident wins $6.5 million Lotto

After more than a year of unemployment, Kristopher Johnson bought the winning $6.5 million Lotto ticket Nov. 21 and visited the Washington
After more than a year of unemployment, Kristopher Johnson bought the winning $6.5 million Lotto ticket Nov. 21 and visited the Washington's Lottery office in Everett Nov. 23 to collect his prize.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

EVERETT — Kristopher Johnson is a man who's taking it slow after Washington's Lottery handed him an oversized check for $6.5 million Nov. 23.

Johnson, who lived in Marysville before moving to Arlington eight months ago, has been trying to support his three children and his girlfriend in spite of being unemployed for more than a year. He bought $2 worth of Lotto tickets at a Chevron gas station in Frontier Village in Lake Stevens Nov. 21 on his way to his grandparents' home to help them fix up their house for a reverse mortgage. Johnson said he doesn't buy lottery tickets on a regular basis, but the "Play to Win" slogan got stuck in his head that day.

"We have a good family, but financially, it was getting very tough," Johnson said. "I was having to juggle money around to buy a turkey. Now I'm set. I'm gold."

Johnson credited his girlfriend with checking the winning ticket Nov. 22 and laughed, "She's a keeper." He noted that he'd slept four hours that night, three more than she'd managed, and during his interview, he remembered that he was scheduled to start a temp job Nov. 30.

"I should call them today," Johnson laughed Nov. 23. "I won't make it in on Monday."

While Johnson is still "playing it by ear" as far as his future is concerned, his first priority for his winnings will be to help out his grandparents with their house. He plans to set aside enough of winnings to pay for his children's college tuition, and even go back to school himself, but he also plans to be cautious in his spending habits and expects to stay in Arlington.

"I'm not quite sure how to feel," Johnson said. "It's kind of a shock and really surreal right now. You daydream about this all the time — 'Oh, if I won the lottery, I could solve this problem, I could pay for this, I could be debt-free' — then it happens."

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