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No April Fools: South Boston resident wins $1 million Publishers Clearing House prize

Sara Adair shows off the oversized check for $1 million dollars her husband Mark received from Dave Sayer of the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol. The total winnings will eventually be paid out, but Sayer started Mark and Sara off with a real check for $25,000.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

Mark Adair was expecting to greet a Teriyaki House delivery driver when he walked outside after seeing a van parked across the street from his South Boston home at about 6 p.m. Friday.

But, instead of getting the spicy chicken bowl and deluxe sushi combo he and his wife ordered, Adair was met by a representative from Publishers Clearing House, who handed him an oversized check for $1 million dollars.

“It’s not something [that] you expect,” said Adair, 53, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. “You see a van pull up and you’re expecting food for delivery, and you go out and then all of a sudden this guy in a suit with balloons walks out and it’s like, ‘Um OK, [that’s] kind of interesting.’”


Mark Adair stands on his porch after Dave Sayer of the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol delivered an oversized check for $ 1 million dollars in South Boston Friday evening. Mark was standing on his porch waiting for a food delivery when Sayer arrived. He thought Dave was delivering the food but then realized his food would not be coming with balloons.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

Adair said his wife, Sara, came down stairs a few minutes later and asked if the whole thing was an April Fools joke. Adair said the business cards he was presented looked official.

“And then they handed me a check,” Adair said. “Not just a cardboard thing, but an actual check, and it was like, ‘Oh, OK. This looks real, so I guess it’s not a joke.’

Adair said it was a surprise to learn he had won.

“It’s always, someone’s going to win the lottery, just not you,” Adair said by telephone Friday evening. “And so, well, today was my lucky day I guess.”

Adair said he regularly gets e-mails for Publishers Clearing House contests and usually figures “sort of, what the heck” and scrolls through the ads and enters for the prize. He said he doesn’t remember when he entered into the contest he won.

“The big thing they do is that, whatever, five-thousand-dollars a week for life,” Adair said. “And then every now and then they have something else, and I guess, one of them was a million dollars.”


He said he knew that winning was a longshot.

“If you look at the odds it’s really, very low,” Adair said. “But in this case our number came up I guess.”

Adair said he’s not sure what he and his wife will do with the money, or if he will take it in a lump sum or an annuity.

“Obviously it’s good to have a lot of extra money,” Adair said. “We’ve got a [12-year-old] son who is going to go to college someday, so that might be good for that too. So we’ll just have to figure out what our best options are and whether to take the annuity or the lump sum.”

While it was certainly Adair’s lucky day, not everything was perfect. The delivery person did eventually show up, but they brought a California roll instead of the deluxe sushi combo Adair and his wife had ordered.

“After the rigmarole , she was obviously in a bit of shock, and was like, ‘Oh they got the order wrong,’ while I was trying to get the paperwork done and everything” Adair said.

They called the restaurant, which came and “delivered another California roll,” Adair said. They did eventually get what they ordered, and the delivery person got a good tip.

“We did give a generous tip, but it was an online order so it was before the whole thing happened,” Adair said. “It was kind of a surreal evening.”


Dave Sayer of the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol, left, hands a bottle of champagne to Mark Adair after delivering an oversized check for $1 million dollars outside his home in South Boston Friday evening. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe