Living in small-town Iowa is definitely a good thing. Just ask lottery winner Tad Alber.

Alber, of West Union, purchased multiple tickets for last Friday's $99 million Mega Millions drawing at a Casey's store in Ossian, in Winneshiek County.

Saturday, Alber was working at his family's West Union Event Center when the pangs of hunger sent him to get chicken. While at the store, he asked the clerk to check his Mega Millions tickets, not realizing a $1 million ticket had been sold in Ossian.

As you can imagine, Alber was flabbergasted when he learned that he had a ticket worth $1 million, the only one sold in Friday's Mega Million drawing in the entire U.S. He got so excited, Alber nearly walked out without paying for his chicken. He eventually did but forgot something else. He left the winning ticket inside the store.

Alber returned to the event center and told his brother and sister-in-law about his good fortune. That's when his sister-in-law received a phone call from her sister. She managed the store where Alber had left his winning ticket and Alber told the Iowa Lottery, "She said, 'Tad has his ticket here, tell him to get back to the store and get the ticket!'"

Shortly after his sister-in-law got that call, Alber retrieved the winning ticket. Word of his winning spread like wildfire throughout the communities of West Union and Ossian.  When he turned in the ticket at the Iowa Lottery Headquarters in Clive today he said, "I think by 2 p.m., half the town knew. By 5 p.m., everybody knew. And it's amazing."

What will he do with his winnings? Alber plans to buy a Clermont restaurant that's owned by his brother but has been closed since the COVID-19 outbreak started. Alber said, "I think it's time for it to re-open up and now I've got the money that I can do it."

I think it would also be a real good idea to throw some money at his sister-in-law's sister. You know, the one who made that saving call about the winning ticket being left at the store.

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