Some might say Cary Collings’ new lucky number is two.
The 61-year-old Puyallup man has been a regular lottery player, buying several Scratch tickets here and there in hopes of nabbing a big winner.
Last week, he got his lucky ticket – twice.
Collings won a combined $255,555 with two tickets, purchased at two stores in Puyallup within 24 hours of each other.
The Boeing Company toolmaker scratched one of several tickets he purchased at River Road Food Mart on June 13 and realized he’d won $55,555.
After claiming his prize and the oversize novelty check the next day, he ordered a pizza near the Fred Meyer on Meridian – where he regularly tries his luck – and walked to the store to buy a few more tickets.
Collings soon realized he had more than quadrupled his winnings with an additional $200,000.
He was in shock.
“I sat in my car for about 15 minutes before driving back to the lottery office,” he said this week.
The Federal Way lottery staff didn’t believe him at first when he returned to claim the bigger prize, and neither did his wife, Susan, when he brought home the second novelty check.
“She thought I talked them into just printing it out,” he said.
Aside from a $5,000 prize in 2011, Collings had never won big before this.
Lottery spokesman Arlen Harris said officials can’t recall a double-win quite like Collings enjoyed.
“This is an unusual phenomenon,” he said. “It is totally random and kind of cool.”
After the lottery withholds the 25-percent federal gaming tax, Collings’ total prize will be worth about $192,000.
The Fred Meyer on Meridian has a track record of lucky winners. Harris said it is the seventh-winningest retailer in the state, with more than 28,400 winning tickets sold.
Likewise, Puyallup is the seventh-luckiest city in the state, with more than 477,000 wins worth about $4.1 million since April 1.
The two tickets Collings scratched were “Red Hot 5s” and “Bring on the Bens” — $5 and $10 games, respectively.
Harris said five out of 1.6 million “Red Hot 5s” tickets carry the $55,555 prize. The odds of a person winning big is about 1 in 321,000, he said.
“Bring on the Bens” has three $200,000 prizes included in about 865,000 tickets distributed statewide, with odds of 1 in 288,000.
“It just turned out that (Collings) was in the right place at the right time for two consecutive days,” Harris said.
Collings, father to two adult sons, has worked at Boeing for 34 years. He returned to his job site in Auburn after claiming his money, and plans to continuing work until his planned retirement next year.
As for using his winnings, Collings has put a down payment on a Hyundai Santa Fe and plans to pay off debt and invest the rest.
“I’ve had (a Hyundai) before and I really liked it,” he said. “It’s practical.”
With two big dogs that ride around with him, Collings said an SUV was the best fit.
“If I had a Porsche I couldn’t put the top down,” he said.
Moving forward, Collings said he will continue to live a happy life just as before, but he’ll likely buy fewer Scratch tickets.
“I’m done with them,” he said. “I know I can’t top that.”