So you want to be a millionaire? You’re not alone.

The lottery machines were busy throughout the Akron area on Thursday as residents lined up for a chance to win the record-breaking Mega Millions pot. A winning ticket tonight is worth an estimated $540 million.

“Everyone is buying at least one Mega Millions ticket. That is, everyone but me,” said Rock Anna Squires who works at Spee-D-Foods on Main Street. “I have very bad luck. I never win.”

But she still encouraged her customers to play.

“This is only the second time I every played it,” said Jim Shrake, 42, of Akron. “My wife told me to play.”

He spent $4.

Waterloo Marathon store clerks Mary Lewis and Nikki Perenkovich said from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday they each sold more than $1,000 worth of tickets.

“I helped an 89-year-old woman fill out a ticket,” said Perenkovich. “She said she was going to hook me up and I wouldn’t ever have to work again. She said at her age she couldn’t possibly live long enough to spend it all. She was a great grandmother and her family wanted her to try her luck.”

Lewis said one guy came in and bought $224 worth of tickets as part of an office pool.

First-time player Seth Endres, 29, of New Philadelphia who works in Akron, spent $10 but had to ask how to play the game. He decided to select his own numbers.

“I’m trying to get rich,” said Endres. “I’d pay off student loans and donate money to a multiple sclerosis charity because I had a mother who passed away who had it.”

Dale Kaman, 63, of Norton, plunked down just $1 for one ticket.

“It only takes one to win. I usually play once a month or so. I use to play a lot more, but slowed down because I wasn’t winning. I’d get those scratch-offs and couldn’t even win those. But I’m feeling lucky.”

Kaman is self-employed but said he would retire to a nice warm climate like the Florida Keys.

“The glass is half full, not half empty,” he said.

After spending $10 on the lottery, Ira Adams, 43, of Akron, told others standing in line that he had the winning ticket so everyone else could go back to work and save their money.

“I’ll be back to collect. I will chill over the weekend then come back on Monday,” he said. “My daughter would be happy. I would be able to pay for her college. She’s 21.”

Clint Nicholas, 53, of Akron, walked into the service station holding a lottery ticket. He said he came to check to see if it was a winning ticket and placed it under a machine. It was a $3 winner. He took his winnings and reinvested the money to play the Mega Millions.

“You gotta do that unless you hit something big,” he said.

He bought $5 worth of Mega tickets and asked for the newest $10 instant ticket.

“Usually I play the Mega on Tuesdays and Fridays. That’s about the only one I play, except occasional instants,” he said. “If I win, I will have a lot of fun.”

And by fun, he said pay off “all my bills, buy some new toys for the kids and the grandkids and buy me some toys, like a couple new Harleys and a brand new car.”

Even the Waterloo Marathon store’s owner, Hank Richard, 72, of Akron, decided to take a chance but said he wouldn’t give up his business.

“I’m in full-time ministry. I’m aware of all the needs here in the city of Akron. I work at the Hope Cafe on Brown Street with people who have no hope and have no help so that’s where I would put the money,” he said. “I’d put the money in the parent church ministries. The churches are full of good people who have great ideas to help certain dimensions of our society, the people in need, and they don’t have any money.”

Syfe Matar, 19, of Cuyahoga Falls, strolled into the store asking if anyone won the Mega Millions on Tuesday. He played $3 in the growing lottery pot.

“I play every time the jackpot gets over $100 million,” he said.

When Jerry Tonkin, 47, of Akron’s Kenmore neighborhood, saw how much the jackpot was he decided it was time to play.

He walked in with a winning ticket worth $40, but only spent $9 on the Mega Millions jackpot.

“I saw it on the news last night,” Tonkin said. “And I feel lucky. If I win I will set my daughter and granddaughter up for life. She and her husband are expecting their second child and I would love for her to be able to kick back and enjoy raising her kids without working.”

He said he and his wife have never been on a vacation.

“If I win we’d be able to take that vacation and many more.”

Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or mmiller@thebeaconjournal.com.