Raleigh, NC (STL.News) Tejas Patel of Fayetteville had a hard time believing his good fortune after his $5 scratch-off revealed a $250,000 prize.

“When I saw the $250,000, I just couldn’t believe it,” he recalled.  “Like, how could I just win?”

Patel purchased his winning $250,000 Gold Rush ticket from the Champs Food Mart on N.C. 41 West in Bladenboro.

“I don’t buy a lot of tickets, normally,” he said.  “So, this was a surprise.”

He claimed his prize Friday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh and took home $176,876 after required federal and state tax withholdings.

“I just graduated from the University of Akron as a mechanical engineer,” said Patel.  “That’s my second degree so it took a little bit of time.” He plans to put his winnings into savings.