First-time player is Big Game winner
Woman, 20, just ‘shook and shook’
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — A young Georgia woman who is one of three winners of an estimated $331 million, multistate Big Game jackpot, feels “wonderful,” and said Wednesday it was the first time she had played the lottery.
Georgia, Illinois and New Jersey vendors each sold a winning ticket for the Big Game, officials said Wednesday.
Erika Greene, 20, of Dacula, Georgia, was surrounded by reporters as she arrived at the Atlanta, Georgia, offices of the Georgia Lottery to have her ticket validated. She was accompanied by her boyfriend and family members.
“I just shook and shook” after learning Tuesday night that she had the winning numbers, Greene said. “Actually, I was kind of stunned. I didn’t have anything to say.”
“I called my boyfriend first and then called Dad,” she said. “Both didn’t believe me. My mom called everyone else.”
She said she slept only about 30 minutes overnight. “I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t dream, I couldn’t do anything. I have no idea what I’m going to do,” she said. Greene said she works for a pay phone and cellular phone company.
“I’ve studied up on statistics and I am going to have someone handle the money for me,” Greene said. “I’ll make my money work for me instead of blowing it all.”
Greene said she planned to buy a car immediately. On Wednesday afternoon Greene was seen riding in a limousine with friends and family members near the store where she bought the winning ticket .
She bought 10 lottery tickets Tuesday — the first time she had ever bought any — at the Rans Texaco Station in Dacula, about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta.
The winning ticket was purchased using the “quick-pick, cash option,” meaning the store’s computer picked the numbers and the winner receives a reduced amount of money in a lump sum.
Greene stands to receive $58.9 million before taxes, lottery officials said.
Another winning ticket was sold in Union County, New Jersey, near Newark, said New Jersey state lottery official Linda Melone. The third winning ticket was sold in the Chicago, Illinois, suburb of Bridgeview, said Illinois State Lottery spokesman Max Montgomery.
The drawing took place at 11 p.m. Tuesday in Atlanta. The winning numbers are 7, 10, 25, 26 and 27, with 23 drawn as the “big money” ball. The odds of winning any Big Game jackpot are 76 million to one. Winners have 180 days to claim their share of the prize, Georgia Lottery president Rebecca Paul said.
Greene returned to the Texaco station Wednesday morning with her mother, station owner Amir Jooma said.
“When she walked in, she was very calm and she bought a pack of cigarettes, and she paid for it, and the clerk said somebody won the lottery, and she said, ‘Yes, that was me,'” Jooma said. “They were in a pretty good mood.”
“It’s really exciting for us guys to sell the winning ticket,” the owner said. His station will receive $25,000 as a result.
Jooma said the station sold close to $5,000 worth of tickets Tuesday, with one man buying $200 worth. It’s the first time the station has sold a winning ticket.
The winning ticket sold in Bridgeview, Illinois, was purchased Tuesday at a Speedway gas station. No one has claimed that ticket, a spokeswoman for the Illinois State Lottery said. It also was a “quick-pick, cash option” ticket.
The Big Game is played in seven states: Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia. New York and Ohio are set to join in May, when the lottery will be rechristened Mega Millions. Washington state will join in September.
First-time player is Big Game winner Woman, 20, just ‘shook and shook’ ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — A young Georgia woman who is one of three winners of an estimated $331 million, multistate
Old boyfriend is the winner
Apr 22, 2002 – 12:00am
You probably saw the story. Last week, 20-year-old Erika Greene of Gwinnett County, Ga., quit her job as a warehouse worker for a cell-phone company. Erika made the completely reasonable decision to take early retirement immediately after she learned on the 11 o’clock news that she, a first-time player, had bought, that very evening at Pans Texaco on Harbins Road in Dacula, Ga., the winning ticket worth $110 million in the multistate Big Game lottery jackpot.
Erika and her mother, Vicki Chambless, arrived at the Georgia lottery offices the next day in a stretch, stretch limousine. With them was Erika’s boyfriend, Mike Swofford, whom she met a year ago at a motorcycle rally. Mike was the first person Erika called with the good news that she had won. Even though I am no fan of lotteries, which are a regressive tax on working families, I was happy for Erika, who seems like a nice person and whose mother, with some concern, told NBC News’s George Lewis, “She trusts everybody, and that worries me.”
But my favorite figure in this happy story has to be Mike Swofford, Erika’s boyfriend. They are not, it was made clear, engaged. Mike Swofford looked into the cameras and said that he hopes “Nothing changes. ” This is an understatement roughly comparable to a) it’s going to be a long season for the Baltimore Orioles; or b) diet-master-exercise guru Richard Simmons is only a long shot to be the next Commandant of the Marine Corps or c) it is not an urgent national need to establish soup kitchens for the “victims” of the capital gains tax.
“Mikey,” which is what Erika calls her main squeeze, elaborated: “I hope everything stays the same.” Then he added with an appealing acknowledgment of the changed power dynamic in their relationship, “Until she kicks me to the curb, I’m there.”
Mike did not put on any airs for the limo trip to the lottery offices. He was wearing a Harley-Davidson T-shirt. Both of them more or less chain-smoked. But, not surprisingly in this era when money is deferred to and genuflected before, nobody in a position of alleged authority told Erika and Mike they were in violation of an indoor smoking ban.
Allow me to put in a word for Mike Swofford. Erika has known and dated him for a year. At the cell-phone company, she was not, it is fair to say, on the professional fast-track. Mike was not there for the stock options or in expectation of sharing in her six-figure bonus at the end of the fiscal year.
It is almost certainly not Mike who was there in the Big Mac and fries days whom Erika now has to worry about. She does not have to keep her guard up for a guy who wears a Harley T-shirt. No, her problem starting yesterday will be the guys with the pinky rings and wristwatches that cost more than a Honda who sport cuff-links big enough to write a Middle East peace plan on and who cannot pass a mirror without pausing to enjoy the image. She also has to be on the alert for the do-good con artists who, with all the determination of the world’s original telemarketer, will seek to persuade Erika that her check will mean the elimination of athletes foot or ear wax.
Stick with Mike, Erika. He is tried and, by now, you have some idea how true. Yes, he is an incurable optimist when he says he hopes that “nothing changes.” You know that nearly everything that hasn’t changed by now almost certainly will change in the next few months. But because he knew you when, and you knew him when, that is important. And you have him on public record declaring, “Until she kicks me to the curb, I’m there.” And from the looks of things, your good fortune has not changed Mike.
Mark Shields is a columnist for Creators Syndicate.
You probably saw the story. Last week, 20-year-old Erika Greene of Gwinnett County, Ga., quit her job as a warehouse worker for a cell-phone company. Erika m