Bay Roberts resident Wayne Hiltz (front, left) is seen here with members of his family. They include wife Mary, daughter Angela, and sons Bill and Wayne Jr. Missing is daughter Jackie. The Hiltzes also have six grandchildren. — Photo by Terry Roberts/TC Media/The Compass
A Bay Roberts resident who has struggled to make ends meet for his entire life is discovering what it's like to be a millionaire.
Wayne Hiltz spent $20 of his meagre income on an Atlantic Lottery Corp. scratch ticket at Powell's Supermarket on May 16, and it turned out to be a wise investment.
It was a winning ticket. The prize? Two million bucks.
And believe it or not, Wayne said it was the first lottery ticket he ever purchased.
It's a true rags to riches story for the 59-year-old Halifax native and his family, which includes wife Mary (Boland), adult daughters Angela and Jackie, adult sons Bill (B.J.) and Wayne Jr., and six grandchildren.
The man known for riding his bicycle throughout Bay Roberts, visiting yard sales and flea markets, is now rich.
He started "shaking like a leaf" after reallzing he had won, and suddenly all the stress and heartaches of the past disappeared.
They'll no longer need to depend on the food bank to stock the kitchen cupboards, and though his trusty red bicycle was still leaning against the bridge Tuesday, Wayne graciously gave away many of the bike parts he had collected in recent months to a friend in need.
What's more, he won't have to count on selling the "pond boat" he crafted in order to help pay for his smoking habit, and the debts he's accumulated over the years will soon be paid in full.
Wayne's main mode of transport over the past two years — summer and winter — has been a pedal bike. His income comes from social assistance payments, and their shelter is a very basic two bedroom apartment.
All that has now changed, and in very dramatic fashion.
He's already purchased a high end Ford Mustang valued at close to six figures, and there's also talks of a new home, all-terrain vehicles, a motorcycle, vacations, a recreational vehicle and more.
He's also promising his wife a full makeover, though she's having no part of it.
"God made me look what I am and money is not going to … no way," Mary interjected during an interview outside their apartment May 21.
A cheque presentation is expected to be made by officials with the lottery corporation at Powell's sometime this week.
Wayne said he plans to spend his new wealth wisely, and is receiving advice from a lawyer, accountant and a financial adviser.
"I can be a provider now for my family. I don't 'have to worry about nothing," he said.
Mary gave him grief about spending the $20 on the ticket, but quickly forgave her husband. Mary and some other family members were dining on chicken when they received the good news, and "Everybody at Kentucky Fried Chicken heard. The whole place went up," she said.
Angela said her parents deserved a break after a lifetime of worry and struggles. They lost everything in a major fire in Nova Scotia before relocating to this province five years ago, for instance.
Wayne quit school after Grade 6, while Mary was one of 18 children in a family raised on very little in Lamaline.
"We've always been a low-income family, and it's always been a struggle," said Angela.
"This is like a fairy tale," she added.