A Lyft driver has plans to lift others up with his newly realized lottery windfall.
Kodjo Ayewonou of Coon Rapids stepped forward last week with a Mega Millions lottery ticket worth $1 million before taxes.
The $2 ticket for the June 4 multistate drawing was bought in Eden Prairie at the BP gas station near Hwy. 62 and Shady Oak Road.
It matched the numbers drawn from among 70 in all, 25-37-46-48-68, but missed the Mega Ball of 25, which would have been good for a $475 million jackpot.
Ayewonou, 45, arrived at Minnesota Lottery headquarters in Roseville, where he was asked his plans for his winnings. After first saying he'd buy a Jeep, the immigrant from Togo added that he plans to direct some of the money to a nonprofit he started that provides sustainable access to clean water in Africa.
He added that his Ebenezer Charity Foundation in Coon Rapids also brought food and clothing to the homeless at the Hiawatha encampment in Minneapolis last year and has plans to dig wells in Africa and help educate orphans in Togo, his native land until he immigrated to the United States in 2004.
Ayewonou, who also runs a food commodities import and export business, said he had just dropped off a Lyft client before making his fortuitous lottery ticket purchase. He said he's been buying a ticket every so often because donations to his charity have not been meeting his expectations.
There were three other $1 million winners around the country from last week's drawing. Those tickets were sold in Arizona, Connecticut and Michigan.
A ticket purchased in Colorado hit the same numbers and missed the Mega Ball but is worth $2 million because that gambler paid $1 to exercise the "Megaplier" option.
Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing stands at $40 million.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482