Talk about instant gratification — the first time the 23 people on the night shift at the Sherwin-Williams plant in Andover, Kansas, decided to pool money and buy Powerball tickets, the first ticket they bought proved to be a winner.
A $200,000 winner, which means it matched the first five numbers drawn Jan. 5 but not the Powerball.
"It was a shocker," said Paula Norton of El Dorado, who goes by Joan and was the designated ticket-buyer for the group. "We're all a bunch of happy people. Everyone's very excited. We're still in awe.
"I'm not sure I'm going to believe it until I have the check in my hand."
Each winner will receive a check for a little more than $6,000 after taxes — not enough to retire on but nothing to sneeze at.
"We were just hanging out after work and discussing what we had done over the holidays... and someone mentioned, 'That lottery is up there pretty good, we ought to play the lottery,' " Norton said.
So everyone contributed a dollar, Norton was chosen to buy the tickets, and she went to a QuikTrip in El Dorado to get them. She checked the paper the next day, noticed that the first ticket matched the first five numbers, and "I about had a cow," she said.
But she had no idea how much the winning ticket was worth.
The next day she went to the convenience store and put the ticket into the machine that reads tickets. It told her the ticket was a winner and to sign the back of the ticket with her name and phone number right away.
"I figured it might be $1,000," she said.
But when she gave it to the man working behind the counter and he looked up the numbers, he said, "Holy cow."
Norton started shaking.
"What do you mean, 'Holy cow?' " she said she asked.
But he wouldn't tell her how much it was worth. She didn't find out until she called the Kansas Lottery offices Jan. 7.
Many of her co-workers didn't find out they had won until they were at work that night.
"They were ecstatic," she said. "They looked at me and went, 'You're kidding.' "
Norton, who said she is near retirement, plans to save or invest her winnings. Others are figuring out how to spend their share.
"They've got kids and things they want to buy and do, and that's great," she said.
No one's planned a celebration yet, but that might change once the checks arrive Friday, she said.
The plant workers aren't the only local people to win a notable lottery prize. A Wichita woman, Krystal Doyle, won $10,000 from a $1 Double Doubler ticket.
She had used some of her Christmas bonus to buy scratch tickets and won $27, she told lottery officials. She used most of that to buy dog food and had $2 left over, which she used to buy two more scratch tickets.
One of them was the winner.
She was so excited she started crying. The money will come in handy: She has a 4-year-old daughter, and she's expecting her second child this spring.