Benton, 24, of Church Hill, was at her hometown Exxon station Saturday with her friend Terry Dennis, who had won a free ticket on a $2 “Jumbo Bucks” ticket with the Tennessee Lottery.
The store was out of $2 tickets, so Dennis received two $1 tickets and gave one to Benton.
Benton said she cried when she scratched her card and it was a $10,000 winner.
“That was a very big surprise for me because the first lottery ticket I tried in my life was a $10,000 winner,” Benton told the Times-News Wednesday. “No one believed me. The people in the store were more excited than I was. I asked them if the ticket was real. ‘Did I really win $10,000?’ They said yes, and they wanted to take my picture.”
Benton said she offered to use part of her winnings to fix up Dennis’ vehicle.
“He said I didn’t have to,” Benton said. “He said I deserved it more than he did. He said all he wants out of it is a set of tires.”
After taxes, Benton took home $7,500. She said she doesn’t know if she was just lucky or if it was a gift from God.
Benton is currently unemployed and takes care of her mother and grandmother. She said she isn’t in serious financial trouble, but she could definitely use the money.
She’d like to think it was a gift from God, which is why she wants to give some of the money to charity.
She also wants to use some of the money to help her family and put some away for a rainy day.
“This is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I’m not going to get in a hurry spending it,” Benton said. “I want to thank God for this. I don’t know if anybody could be lucky enough to win $10,000 the first time you play the lottery. I think it was just meant to be.”