Connie Habeck plays the lottery when the jackpot is at its biggest.
"When the money goes up, I buy like everybody else," said Habeck of Gray. She said she has always played knowing she would split any winnings with her 35-year-old son Robert, who lives in Athens.
What makes the 60-year-old woman different is the $5 million winning scratch-off ticket she nearly forgot in the bottom of her purse.
Georgia Lottery officials awarded Habeck a large cardboard check Tuesday afternoon at Neal's Food Mart at 1980 Gray Highway in Macon as her friends and family looked on.
"She deserves it," said her neighbor and friend Aletha Young. "She's the most wonderful person in the world."
Last Thursday was like any other day for Habeck. She left her house in Gray at about 6:45 a.m. for her drive to work at Pyles Plumbing in Macon, where she is a secretary.
In the preceding days, Habeck said several people at work had talked about buying a ticket in the $500 Million Club drawing. The game offers $500 million in cash prizes including 10 top prizes of $5 million.
"I just thought, 'Well, I'll stop and buy one,' " Habeck said.
She walked inside Neal's Food Mart, bought a $20 ticket and put it in her purse, she recalled.
"I forgot about it," Habeck said. "I was cleaning out my bag (that night) when I saw it."
When she started scratching on the ticket, Habeck said she saw a "five" and then an "M."
To be sure she'd won, Habeck said she drove to a convenience store in Gray to confirm her winning ticket. Habeck said she plans to retire and buy a new home in Jackson County near her son.
Her son, a musician, has said he plans to buy a new home and save for retirement, according to a lottery news release.
This week isn't the first time Habeck has won the lottery.
Her mother used to enjoy playing scratch-off lottery tickets, and on many occasions Habeck said she and her sister "took mom to scratch" at local convenience stores.
About a year and a half ago, all three women won several hundred dollars.
"She loved it," Habeck said.
Holding her cardboard check, she said she knows what her mother would probably say about her winnings.
"She'd say 'You finally got your numbers.' "