In the community

Payette man wins big at Jacksons Food Store in Ontario

ONTARIO – Levi Robinette and his son went into Jacksons Food Store in Ontario last week for an early morning energy drink after staying up all night. 

Robinette had pulled an all-nighter to help his wife get used to working the night shift at Jack in the Box, where they both work.

It was payday and the Payette man had just bought breakfast at McDonald’s. He got the energy drink and, on a whim, bought three scratch lottery tickets. 

Then, Robinette started scratching. 

“At first I thought I was a $10 dollar winner,” he recalled. “And then the zeros kept going.”

Robinette won a $100,000 jackpot prize.

He was stunned. He tried to tell his wife, but he said she didn’t believe him. 

“No you didn’t,” she told him as she ripped the ticket out of his hand and they walked back inside the store to confirm the win.

It was true. Robinette said he gave the cashier $100 as a token of gratitude. The winning ticket wasn’t even the one he originally wanted to buy, Robinette said, but the others ran out and the cashier offered that one instead.

Robinette wasted no time in collecting the money. He made the eight and a half hour trip to Salem the next day. He opted to pay about $38,000 in taxes upfront.

The first thing he did was pay off his bills. 

“I’m debt free now,” he said. 

He’s only splurged on two things: a car for his wife and a Kawasaki Ninja 400 motorcycle for himself.

“I put some in savings, I’m going to take the family on vacation and the rest I’m going to let it sit there and use it for a rainy day,” he said.

One thing he’s not doing is quitting his job, he said Monday on the phone while he was on a 10-minute break at work.

“I’m gonna keep working. My boss gave us a week off and we’re going to go on vacation,” he said. 

The family was doing okay throughout the pandemic, Robinette said. Rent and utilities were paid and they had the essentials, but he still had debt he felt he could wait to pay off. 

Robinette said he’s played slots before, but the most he’s ever won was $500. He didn’t even think jackpot winners were real, he added with a laugh. 

“I’ve never seen something like this,” he said.

He plans to rent a cabin in the mountains for the vacation when restrictions are lifted, but other than that, “I’m gonna live the way I was,” Robinette said, before heading back in to work. 


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