Two Ottawa men are splitting a $32 million lottery jackpot after decades of buying tickets together.
"It hasn't sunk in yet," one of the winners, Samir Haddad, said Thursday. "Today, signing some papers, my hands were shaking. When I look at all the zeroes..."
Haddad, 57, and his friend and barber Mike Detorre, 71, were back in Ottawa after taking four limousines and 35 relatives with them to Toronto to pick up their Lotto 6-49 winnings the day before.
Haddad, who installs hardwood flooring, came to Canada from Lebanon in 1969 and has been playing with Detorre since the lottery started in the early 1970s.
Normally, the men split the cost.
But a few weeks ago, Haddad bought the $3 ticket as a tip after a haircut at Detorre's barber shop because he didn't have any change.
"I told Mike that day, I'll splurge — I'll buy it with the Encore."
Haddad returned to the barber shop at Seneca Street and Sunnyside Avenue, blocks from Carleton University, the next Saturday.
"I went to Mike and I gave him heck," Haddad recalled. "I said, 'When are you ever going to call me to say we've won something?' He said, 'It's when you buy the winning ticket.'"
Haddad said he took the ticket back, replayed the numbers — 4, 16, 20, 23, 28, 44 — and left it behind the mirror as he usually did.
On Monday morning, Detorre visited the convenience store in the same building as the barber shop, where he and Haddad bought their tickets on Mondays and Thursdays.
'There was no happy dance'
Preet Sanhu, who owns the shop and is also Detorre's landlady, said Detorre checked his ticket on the instant checker but showed no sign he'd won.
"There was no happy dance," she said, adding that if she won, she would "do a real big dance out there and scream."
By the time Detorre and Haddad next met, they had both checked the numbers.
But Haddad first made Detorre pay for his half of the ticket.
"He gave me $1.50 and I told him, 'Here, you can have $16 million.'"
The two men then went back to work.
Since then, the win has had an impact in his life, Haddad said. At the bank on Thursday, he didn't have to wait in line. He went straight to the manager's office.
Both men said they will share the money with their families.