Mikey Elkins is a 25-year-old PE teacher in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He plays HQ Trivia every day with his coworkers "just for fun," he told BuzzFeed News. However, he had not yet won a single penny from the app — that is, until Sunday night, when he was sitting on his toilet.
"Every day at 3 p.m. me and my coworkers play," he said. "I never win anything... I never get past question six."
On Sunday at around 9:15 p.m, he said he was "sitting on my phone, doing my business" in the bathroom when an alert popped up on his phone to play for
He thought, Why the hell not?
Elkins progressed quickly to question 14. He amazed himself doing so well, and he stayed in the bathroom for so long he said his wife came knocking worried about him.
"You won't believe it!" Elkin recalled screaming to his wife from inside the bathroom. "There are nine people left [in the game]!"
He said his wife then barged into the bathroom — he was still sitting on the toilet — and the two of them watched him win the next question, and the next, and the next.
Finally, he was the only person left in the game. In a matter of seconds, he won the pool of $25,000. "I stood up and started yelling," he said. He then quickly called his 19-year-old sister, Haylee Gonzalez, to "freak out" over the news.
Elkins told BuzzFeed News he knew the answers to a few of the questions, but for the most part he did a lot of guessing.
"For questions I didn't know I went with my first instinct," he said.
Gonzalez told BuzzFeed News she at first thought her brother was lying "because he goofs off all the time."
At 9:38 p.m., HQ officially announced him as the winner of the $25,000 prize on Twitter.
Elkins, who considers himself a "simple guy" who did not have a Twitter account, created one for this moment. But naysayers online were skeptical and did not want to believe him.
Some wrote him off as an opportunist seeking to go viral.
Elkins' name and photo with his wife have already been stolen by different accounts to impersonate him.
One user is even trying to leverage it to earn RTs and and followers for themselves.
HQ Trivia confirmed to BuzzFeed News Elkin is the winner of the one-of-a-kind prize. They have already been in touch with him about receiving his check.
He told BuzzFeed News he has thought about what he'd do with the spontaneous earnings, and it's extremely practical: "I'm a teacher, so we don't get paid in the summer. It'll be something to get me through."
Elkins also said that he and his wife are foster parents, and were not able to go on their honeymoon because he was in a bad accident at the time. The money will go toward a proper honeymoon for the couple.
He's since told his teen sister she should start playing.
"I'm not a fancy person," he added, laughing.
Tanya Chen is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in New York.
Contact Tanya Chen at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.