How a Simple Act of Kindness Got Someone a $1.5 Billion Winning Lottery Ticket

One person at a South Carolina convenience store was able to claim the biggest single-winner jackpot in U.S. history after one small, life-changing moment.

It's the question at the top of everyone's minds: Who won the $1.5 billion Mega Millions lottery prize?

After months of mystery following the Oct. 23 drawing, it was announced Monday that the winner had finally come forward to claim their spoils, the largest payout to a single person in U.S. history.

Lottery officials said the individual in question had chosen to remain anonymous and opted to take home the cash option of $877,784,124. 

But that hasn't stopped the rampant speculation about the winner's identity.

Inside Edition checked in with Janice Curtis, mayor of Simpsonville, South Carolina, where the ticket was purchased, to see if she could offer any insight on who the winner is. It's believed he or she may work at the nearby ZF car transmission plant. Rumor has it the winner is an auto mechanic who quit their job the day they discovered they'd won. 

"That is what the scuttlebutt is, for sure," Curtis said, adding she has no idea who the winner is. 

"I would like to know," she told Inside Edition's Senior Correspondent Les Trent. "... I know that it's one very fortunate individual, and it has changed his life and his family's life for ever."

"OK, you just gave away a clue, it's a man?" 

"Well, maybe," she demurred. "You know, that can be interchangeable."

According to lottery officials, the win came down to a simple act of kindness. The individual let a person go in front of them in line, then bought their own Quick Pick ticket, which ended up being the winner.

The anonymous winner has retained a lawyer, Jason Kurland of Rivkin Radler in New York, to act as their spokesperson.

Inside Edition previously spoke to Kurland, who advises big-bucks winners, about what to do if you hit it big.

“First thing you do is stay quiet," Kurland told Inside Edition. "Don't tell your friends, don't tell your family. You have a couple of weeks before you come forward to the world. You need that time to be in the right mindset.

"You don't need people knocking on your door asking for handouts before you even have the money," he added. 

Kurland also said you should make sure you sign your winning ticket right away.

“If that's not signed and God forbid you lose it, and someone else signs it and brings it in, it's their ticket," he said. 

The deadline to claim the winnings was April 21. If the jackpot had not been claimed by then, each participating state in the Mega Millions game would have gotten back the money it contributed to the jackpot. The winning numbers were 5, 28, 62, 65, 70 and Mega Ball 5.