When Alberta James of Machesney Park, Ill. arrived home from work tired and soaked from the rain last week, she listened to a garbled message on her answering machine from her best friend about the Lottery. At the time, Alberta had no idea that her life was about to change.
"When I called my friend back she said, 'Oh my God, you're rich. One winner has a $7 million ticket they bought from Vince's, and I'm sure it's you!'" said James. She didn't believe her friend: "You dream about it, but you never think it could happen to you," added James.
James has been the primary care-taker of her 84-year old father for the last 13 years and puts him in charge of checking their tickets. She sent him upstairs to verify the winning Lotto numbers against their ticket and sure enough their Quick Pick numbers of 8-14-22-36-44-52 were an identical match. "He calmly walked downstairs and into the kitchen and said, 'Do you mind if I shake the hand of a millionaire?'"
"My cheeks hurt. This smile will never leave my face, I wake up smiling, I go to sleep smiling — I am so happy!" James works as a rural mail carrier for Rural Craft and said that she won't be working there much longer. "This brings new meaning to the phrase shop 'til you drop.'"
James has yet to make any substantial plans for her winnings, although she has retained the services of a financial advisor. "I don't know why God blessed me with this money, but he did and I hope I live up to his expectations."
Although she has never won a major jackpot before, James plays Lotto weekly and plays the same numbers.
"It's so exciting to know that the Illinois Lottery has changed someone's life and what great timing with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday," said Illinois Lottery Superintendent Carolyn Adams. "Alberta has seven million more reasons to be thankful this year."
She purchased her winning Lotto ticket at Vince's Liquor & Tobacco at 7901 N. Alpine in Loves Park, Ill. Vince's Liquor & Tobacco is a historic retailer because it is one of the original retailers who signed up to sell Lottery tickets when it was founded in 1974. They will receive a one percent bonus of $70,000 for selling the winning ticket.