For retired Suffolk County police Officer Steven Sevier, it's the "cherry on top of the whipped cream."
The Bay Shore resident received a ceremonial check Wednesday afternoon for winning the top prize in the New York Lottery's $2,500 A Week For Life scratch-off game.
Sevier said in a lottery news release that he buys tickets twice a week, but follows a morning ritual: "I read the paper, drink my coffee and scratch my tickets."
On this occasion when he saw he had a winner, it took a while for reality to set in.
"I didn't believe it," Sevier said. "I checked it three times and brought it outside to check in the light. I was flabbergasted."
Likewise, his wife, Ellen, who had called to remind him to water the plants, was in awe. "She didn't believe me, even when she saw the ticket. I still don't think she believes it," Sevier said of his wife of 43 years.
He's opted for a minimum of 20 annual payments of $130,000, netting him $86,034 per year after required withholdings and totaling $1,720,680, the lottery said.
Sevier said he had no immediate plans for the money.
"It is just a bonus in life," he said, "a cherry on top of the whipped cream."