The Fruitport man had lost his job, his house was headed toward foreclosure and he could barely afford Christmas gifts for his two sons.
That bleak future changed in an instant when Springstead and his wife, Teresa, scraped off an instant lottery ticket.
“We had just got done buying the boys a gift and we had $10 left,” he recalled. “We bought two tickets. I scratched it off and said, 'Holy cow, here it is.'”
That “it” was $300,000.
The Springsteads purchased the tickets at Orchard Market in Fruitport, and one of them changed their world.
“It was just overwhelming,” Springstead said. “You wonder, 'How do I deserve this and not somebody else?' There's such a flood of emotion that it's very difficult to explain. We were three months behind in our house payments and we were expecting paperwork to come rolling in the door right after Christmas."
Instead, the Springsteads paid off their mortgage before the new year.
They have been traveling the country since August 2012, scoping out places to retire in about 20 years. Springstead was in Alabama when the Tribune contacted him for a telephone interview.
“My wife and I both decided that if we could ever afford it, we could travel the lower 48 states and try to find a place in a warmer climate to retire to,” said Springstead, 48. “We took pretty close to $20,000 and did some traveling. We went all the way to Louisiana, the Grand Canyon and all the way over to Charleston (S.C.).”
The Springsteads plan to return to their Fruitport home someday. His son and daughter-in-law are living there until then.
Springstead said the lottery win set them on a path they otherwise could not have afforded. But he said $300,000 was not enough to let them float into retirement.
“Right now, I'm debt-free and living in Alabama,” Springstead said. “But I do have to go back to work — the fun and games is over for a little while. The $300,000 takes care of the vehicles and the house and the medical bills we had. Now it's time to see what we can do with the rest of our lives.”