Ohio started a new program offering a lottery prize of $1 million, randomly selected from the pool of people who chose to get their vaccines. An Amazon driver with dreams of buying a “forever home” for his family won the prize on Wednesday, and wants others to get the vaccine like he did.
Amazon driver Jonathan Carlyle of Toledo became the second winner in Ohio’s Vax-a-Million program, giving a $1 million prize to lucky vaccinated Ohioans five weeks in a row. The prize includes a call from Gov. Mike DeWine, who actually reached out to Carlyle on Wednesday evening but missed him initially because he was still on his shift.
“I actually missed the call,” Carlyle said, according to WLWT-TV. “I was checking out from work and had to call him back. But I was shaking when I talked to him, when I heard his voicemail — I knew what it was and about lost it.”
“It’s overwhelming. I don’t know what to do. I’m still dreaming,” he said of the call, and while he doesn’t have a lot of designs on what he’ll do with all the money, he has some ideas.
“I got a lot of bills to pay – so that’s the first thing that’s going to happen,” he smiled. “Pay some bills and probably buy a house. I’m going to keep working. My girlfriend is going to keep working – it’s going to be a good bedrock for our family. It’s going to be awesome.” Carlyle and his girlfriend are raising three children, including a 5-month-old son.
He had family members who fought COVID-19, including one who died of the disease, but didn’t make the move to get vaccinated until he learned of the state’s lottery program in part because of his long work hours — then he was all in.
“My sister and her husband both came down with COVID, as well as his father who passed from COVID,” he told the Dayton Daily News. “She was on me a lot to go and get the vaccination, and that played a very significant role in me getting my vaccination.”
“When [DeWine] announced Vax-a-Million, as soon as I heard that, a few days later I got the Johnson & Johnson shot,” he noted.
Now, he’s advocating for others to follow suit, even if they don’t get the newfound riches he did.
“Get vaccinated!” he encouraged people. “Do it! We need to!”