When Matt Norton left for his FIFO job on Christmas Eve last year he had no idea he had become an overnight millionaire.
The 34-year-old boarded his plane and headed north like he always did to his job as an electrical and instrumentation technician on an oil ship.
Sitting in the glovebox of his Toyota Prado was a Saturday Lotto ticket that just happened to have all six winning numbers on it.
It remained there until Mr Norton got home from his swing … some six weeks later.
The ticket was worth a life-changing $1,089,093.
“I was away six weeks because there was a cyclone at the time,” Mr Norton said.
“I knew it was in there, but I didn’t know it was the winning ticket.
“I kept seeing that no one had claimed it yet.”
Mr Norton ended up taking the ticket to Ballajura City News and Post, the same place he bought it, to check it.
“I walked in to go and check it, scanned it, and it said you’re a winner, but it didn’t say how much,” he said.
“I said to the bloke, ‘I think your machine’s broken’.
“The guy said, ‘you’re the million-dollar winner’.”
Mr Norton said the moments that followed were like a dream.
“A lot of adrenaline hits; the feeling’s very surreal.
“It doesn’t really dawn on you.
“It’s when the money hits your bank account — it hit my bank account at midnight — that you realise you’re not dreaming.”
Mr Norton said he was determined to not “be that person that wastes it”.
He splashed out on property, paying cash for a 10-acre hobby farm north east of Perth, which he is busy renovating and turning into his dream home.
“I move into that in March,” he said.
“Unless something really terrible goes wrong I’m pretty much set up for life.”
Another big winner from Mr Norton’s Lotto riches was his ridgeback cross Gracie, who now finds herself with literally acres of space to run around in.
Mr Norton laughed when he recounted the tale of how, if he had have checked his ticket before he left for work, he might not have gone.
“The draw was on the 21st, and I flew on Christmas Eve,” he said.
“If I had checked that ticket, I probably wouldn’t have gone back to work.
“I’m glad I did go back, it’s a really good job, and I’m really lucky … we got laid off for a little bit, but we just actually got our jobs back.”
Reflecting on his win, Mr Norton said he appreciates his good fortune all the time.
“Every day that I get up and have a coffee, and look out on the property that I own, I do feel so lucky.
“You’ve got 10 acres to ride motorbikes, play with the dog and kick the footy.
“Around here I can see the stars every night.
“Life’s very easy now, financially.
“You go from working to pay your mortgage, then now it’s ‘what do I want to do?’”
Mr Norton said he still buys a ticket each week, and will be entering the Saturday Lotto $30 million Megadraw on January 2.
“I encourage all my friends to play now,” he said.
“It is pure luck, and it can change someone else’s life if they win.”
Tickets for the January 2 Saturday Lotto Megadraw are available from Lotterywest in-store, online or via the app.