RALEIGH, NC (CBS) — A Massachusetts man bicycling through North Carolina got a $200,000 surprise after stopping at a Wilmington, North Carolina convenience store.

Fitchburg resident Mark Bruso is doing the ride to visit the places he was stationed when he was in the Marine Corps.

He was on his way to Florida, but while pedaling through Wilmington, he broke a spoke on his bike.

“I broke a spoke on my bike,” Bruso said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever broken a spoke. I was so upset about it.”

bruso Massachusetts Marine Veteran Wins Big In North Carolina Lottery

Fitchburg resident Mark Bruso. (Photo credit: North Carolina Lottery)

As he waited to get it fixed, he went to a Speedway station on Market Street and bought a $500 Frenzy scratch ticket.

That ticket wasn’t a winner.

Bruso says he went to get lunch and after he finished eating, he made what he calls a “spur-of-the-moment decision.”

“When I finished, I made a spur-of-the moment decision to go back and get another ticket. I figured I already got the losing out of me with the last ticket, so the next one must be a winner,” Bruso said.

The second ticket was a $5 ticket, but that was the ticket that brought the surprise.

“I thought I was seeing things. I had to put my glasses on and make sure I was reading it right,” Bruso said.

The former Marine claimed his prize Friday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. He paid the taxes and will still bring home $139,003.

Bruso says he’ll use the money to continue his Atlantic seaboard bicycle trip.

“I’ve been planning this trip for almost four years,” Bruso said.

“It’s been the best decision of my life. Next stop is Parris Island where I went to boot camp,” he said. “Who knows though, after winning this I might ride all the way Southern California where I was also based.”

Bruso started his trip in July.


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