A lottery ticket worth $1 million sat on the bathroom counter of Louis and Connie Frankel's Bath home for almost 24 hours — and nearly became dog food — before anyone realized it was a winner.
And not many people can say they received a check for $1 million on their birthday — but Annette Cobb can.
The Frankels and Cobb were presented with checks Wednesday for $1 million each from the New York Lottery on Wednesday in separate ceremonies. The Frankels received their check at Regal Cinemas in the Arnot Mall in Big Flats. Cobb received hers at the Elmira Wegmans.
While life may be a little more comfortable for them, Louis Frankel said he plans to keep his job as a laborer at Philips Lighting in Bath, where he has worked for 21 years. Connie Frankel also plans to keep her job as a meter reader at Bath Electric Gas & Water Systems, where she has been employed for 16 years.
"We might retire a little earlier than originally planned, but for now, we'll keep working," Louis Frankel said. "We're simple people. That's the way we plan to keep it."
The Frankels, married 32 years, said they plan to invest most of their winnings, donate some money to an animal shelter and possibly purchase a lakeside cottage for their retirement.
They bought the King Kong Millions ticket at Triple K Beverage on state Route 415 North in Bath. A total of 16 winning nine-digit numbers were drawn in the King Kong Millions jackpot game, lottery officials said.
"It's a miracle the (winning lottery) ticket didn't end up in the dog's belly," said Connie Frankel. "Our dog loves to chew stuff, and the ticket was on the counter for a day before he (Louis Frankel) checked the numbers.
"When he called me at work to tell me we had a winning ticket, I can't repeat what I said," Connie Frankel said with a laugh. "Basically, I couldn't believe it."
The Frankels didn't tell anyone they won until Christmas, they said. The couple came forward for the first time Wednesday.
Afterwards, the Frankels planned to have lunch with their family and friends.
"I'm trying to talk Connie into paying for it all," Louis Frankel said.
Cobb, 41, a school nurse who lives in West Elmira, celebrated her birthday Wednesday with New York Lottery officials and the crew at Wegmans on Clemens Center Parkway, where she purchased her Win For Life scratch-off lottery ticket in December.
"You can't beat this birthday gift," Cobb's mother, Theresa Beebe of Elmira, said when she watched her daughter blow out the candles on the birthday cake baked at Wegmans.
Cobb said she plans to keep working, too.
Her son, Brian Cobb, told his teachers at Ernie Davis Middle School that he was going to be absent Wednesday, but he said they didn't believe him when he told them he had to attend a press conference because his mother had won the lottery.
"It's pretty exciting," said the sixth-grader.
Annette Cobb bought the ticket while she was shopping for Christmas dinner, she said.
When she got home, her husband, Michael Cobb, started scratching the tickets, she said.
When he scratched the word "life" three times on the third ticket, he told his wife she better take a look.
"I thought, what could I have won, maybe five or 10 dollars?" Annette Cobb recalled. "I took one look at that ticket and I screamed. Then I called my father and told him I won the lottery."
The odds of winning a Win For Life game are 1 in 7.56 million, lottery Director Nancy A. Palumbo said.
"Win For Life is the most popular instant game offered by the New York Lottery," Palumbo said. "It's so popular, we've been printing tickets for the game for 11 years."
Cobb's sister, Nancy Coldiron, said she thought it was a joke when her sister told her she won the lottery.
"I was just shocked," Coldiron said. "No one in our family has ever won anything."
Michael Cobb, a correction officer, said he plans to keep working, too.
"Our lives will change very little," he said. "It will help put the kids through college."
Their daughter, Justine Cobb, a junior at Horseheads High School, said she might rethink her college choices.
"The money will provide us with the extra things we always wished we could do," Annette Cobb said. "You know, the things you don't want to wait until you're 80 to do."