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Mo. woman describes aftermath of lottery jackpot

After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: Mo. woman describes aftermath of lottery jackpot
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When Sandra Hayes hit a $224 million Powerball jackpot with 12 of her co-workers, she didn't retire immediately.

Hayes was a social worker with the state of Missouri then, and she was a single mom of three who was twice divorced. Her income was less than $26,000 a year.

She had debt, including school loans, and she still was having a hard time believing that she had won. She wanted to wait until she had her winnings in hand.

But things at work got increasingly difficult.

She started getting letters from all over the country from people who said they needed money for a variety of emergencies.

"They were desperate, but I had no idea who they were," she said.

Those who didn't send letters, sent faxes, or they'd show up in the lobby at her office and ask to speak to her.

"After a while, I just said I'm not coming out," she said. "I told them this is not a client."

Some even showed up at her Florissant home on the weekends. She got to the point where she didn't open her door.

And it wasn't just strangers. A friend whom Hayes had known for years sought Hayes' help in paying three years worth of back taxes. She said if she didn't pay up, she was going to lose her house.

Hayes offered the names of several organizations that could help, but the woman claimed she had already tried, and they wouldn't assist her.

"You know how you can pick up a vibe off a person that something's funny?" Hayes said. "Well that's how I felt, so I told her I'd think about it."

After the woman left, Hayes searched a St. Louis County government website for her friend's property tax records. They were paid in full. She printed out the page and mailed it to her. They didn't speak again.

Hayes said it was experiences like these that led her to now self-publish a 42-page paperback, "How Winning the Lottery Changed My Life." It's available at bookstores and online and retails for $11.96. (Book available here.)

Hayes, 51, said she has matured a lot since winning the lottery in April 2006.

The morning she found out that she had won, she was running late for work. Hayes suffers from lupus, and she wasn't feeling well.

Her supervisor called to ask if she was coming in, and Hayes feared she might get fired. But she told Hayes she and her co-workers had won the Powerball. Even after another co-worker called and verified the news, Hayes didn't believe it.

Hayes said she was overwhelmed by her newfound wealth, and everything that came with it — like her new tax rate. She took a lump sum payment, which she said was significantly less than the $8.5 million reported at the time, although she wouldn't say how much she got.

She retired and paid off her bills and her home. She bought a second home and new cars for herself and her two daughters. She paid off her son's car loan and bought new furniture and clothes. She took her family on several vacations, something she was never able to afford before.

Hayes donated money to organizations that helped her when she needed it and to people who needed help, like a woman whose teeth were knocked out in a domestic assault.

She even appeared on a reality TV show that detailed how she and three of her other co-workers spent their first Christmas as millionaires.

But after the spending spree and the publicity died down, Hayes realized that even millionaires needed to be on a budget. She still shops at discount stores and is taking up couponing.

"If I don't budget right, I could spend my money by the time I'm 60," she said.

Hayes is grateful she won the lottery and can spend her days gardening, cooking or fishing. And she's working on an afterschool program that would teach children healthy eating habits and cooking skills.

But she's had to weigh those pluses against the minuses, like having to find new friends.

"It feels good now to be with people who will take you out to dinner or buy you a drink, and there's no strings attached," she said. "They love me for who I am and not because of what I have."

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55 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by tntea.
Page 1 of 4

United States
Member #111446
May 25, 2011
6323 Posts
Offline
Posted: March 5, 2012, 9:19 am - IP Logged

Sandra has a smart head on her shoulder, probably more then most who win even larger jackpots.

God bless her, she deserves everything she received!   Blue Angel

 

Is it just me...or doe's Sandra remind you of Whoopi Goldberg? Could be her twin sister.    Eek

    sully16's avatar - sharan
    Listens to the wind

    United States
    Member #81740
    October 28, 2009
    18807 Posts
    Online
    Posted: March 5, 2012, 9:24 am - IP Logged

    Congrats Sandra, I hope you find some peace and quiet so you can enjoy time with your family.

    There's only one US Flag

      LottoGuyBC's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
      British Columbia
      Canada
      Member #116105
      September 4, 2011
      3483 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: March 5, 2012, 9:29 am - IP Logged

      "It feels good now to be with people who will take you out to dinner or buy you a drink,

      and there's no strings attached," she said.

      "They love me for who I am and not because of what I have." 

       

      well said Cheers

      "You have to be in it to win it!"

        mightwin's avatar - questns

        United States
        Member #103789
        January 5, 2011
        442 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: March 5, 2012, 9:58 am - IP Logged

        You will know who your true friends are.....the ones that don't ask for a dime and are happy for you.

          dpoly1's avatar - driver
          PA
          United States
          Member #66141
          October 16, 2008
          1435 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: March 5, 2012, 10:00 am - IP Logged

          Nice lady! Maybe Todd can write a post about my big win soon! No picture though.

          Cool

          dpoly1 - Playing the lottery to save the jobs of those that build, transport, sell & maintain luxury items! -

           

          Eschew Poverty ........... Vote Conservative!

            KSplayer's avatar - lightening
            KS
            United States
            Member #103009
            December 29, 2010
            108 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: March 5, 2012, 10:04 am - IP Logged

            It is always nice to hear of a winner who manages their money and doesn't end up broke within a year. Congrats on your win Sandra!

            DREAMS DO COME TRUE!!!!!!!!!Blue Angel

              time*treat's avatar - radar

              United States
              Member #13130
              March 30, 2005
              2171 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: March 5, 2012, 11:12 am - IP Logged

              "Hayes searched a St. Louis County government website for her friend's property tax records. They were paid in full."

              Some friend. Unhappy

              In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
              Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

                GiveFive's avatar - Lottery-026.jpg
                NY State
                United States
                Member #92611
                June 10, 2010
                2035 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: March 5, 2012, 11:36 am - IP Logged

                This woman's experiences after her win isnt much different than other big winner's experiences. It happens to them all, and that type of thing has been well documented here and other places.

                Claiming a JP anonymously is the only way to go, but the gaming laws of individual states may or may not let that happen.

                Take heed and learn from her experience.  If your name is required to be made public, then prior to collecting your prize, you need to have a plan in place to disappear immediately after the session where you are introduced to the public.  It should be part of the discussions you have with your lawyer, financial advisors et al before you go to collect.

                Winning a Jackpot - unlikely but POSSIBLE!

                  NightStalker's avatar - IMG00073 20100720-1609_2.jpg
                  Nothing Good Happens After Midnight
                  East of Columbus, OH
                  United States
                  Member #120848
                  December 28, 2011
                  414 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: March 5, 2012, 11:58 am - IP Logged

                  Glad to see that she is doing well.  You never can tell how the win will affect people long-term.

                  Life's Too Short To Be Unhappy Cool

                    CDanaT's avatar - tiger avatar_04_hd_pictures_169016.jpg
                    TX
                    United States
                    Member #121198
                    January 4, 2012
                    1112 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: March 5, 2012, 1:07 pm - IP Logged

                    This woman's experiences after her win isnt much different than other big winner's experiences. It happens to them all, and that type of thing has been well documented here and other places.

                    Claiming a JP anonymously is the only way to go, but the gaming laws of individual states may or may not let that happen.

                    Take heed and learn from her experience.  If your name is required to be made public, then prior to collecting your prize, you need to have a plan in place to disappear immediately after the session where you are introduced to the public.  It should be part of the discussions you have with your lawyer, financial advisors et al before you go to collect.

                    Amen Give5, I have seriously considered moving immediately to a gate restricted community after a big win to avoid just this very issue and even going on a month long vacation to visit other states for a 2nd home away from home. Course if you have kids in school that won't work..but moving will. You can always tear up letters or stamp them, "return to sender, no longer at this address"....

                    Stay Positive, Believe and good things will come your way

                      Avatar
                      new york
                      United States
                      Member #123022
                      February 11, 2012
                      124 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: March 5, 2012, 2:26 pm - IP Logged

                      well if she thought people werent going to bother her any more they sure are now after reading this

                        Avatar
                        New Member
                        ny, ny
                        United States
                        Member #123108
                        February 13, 2012
                        20 Posts
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                        Posted: March 5, 2012, 3:27 pm - IP Logged

                        It has to really hurt to have life long friends treat you like that. But, if my friend won the lottery, I would be envious and would need a moment to get used to her wealth. is that selfish?

                          Avatar
                          Orlando, FL
                          United States
                          Member #115789
                          August 28, 2011
                          259 Posts
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                          Posted: March 5, 2012, 3:37 pm - IP Logged

                          ScaredEVERY Lotto Winner gets attacked sooner or later. Be Prepared when you winSad Cheers

                            maringoman's avatar - kobold
                            Massachusetts
                            United States
                            Member #37433
                            April 14, 2006
                            1908 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: March 5, 2012, 3:47 pm - IP Logged

                            This is a beautiful story. Shame on the "property tax" friend, everybody who reads this story will curse her. Thats a lot of curses.

                            If the story is retold in the newly published book then she will forever be grouped with Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus for 30 gold coins.

                            It's a futile effort.