A 49-year-old woman and her daughter came to Maryland Lottery headquarters Monday carrying a locked safe. Inside was the $24 million Mega Millions winning ticket from last Tuesday's drawing.
As she sat hugging her oversized check, the winner told Lottery officials her story.
The winner almost didn't purchase the ticket that ultimately made her a multi-millionaire.
"I went to the store to play a $5 Quick Pick ticket," she told Lottery officials. "After running the $5 playslip through the terminal, I told the clerk to give me another $5 Quick Pick. I just had a feeling and that second ticket wound up being the winner."
When the North Carolina native woke up Wednesday morning, on her birthday, she heard that the winning ticket was sold at Carroll Station, the same location where she made her purchase. "At that point, I just knew it was me," she said. That's when the mother-of-two checked her neighbor's newspaper for the numbers.
As the winner sat in disbelief with Lottery officials today, she grabbed hold of the oversized check and wouldn't let go.
Before the win, the grandmother-of-three and her daughter were planning to move out of state. Those plans haven't changed, but along with a new house, the winner can finally get her dream car — a 2009 Lexus truck.
Store worker kisses each ticket for luck
Perhaps a bit of extra luck was passed on by the store clerk who sold the winning ticket.
For about two months, Marlene Webster has kissed the lottery tickets — even scratch-offs — she sold behind the bar at Carroll Station, her family's restaurant on Washington Boulevard. Customers have won as much as $600 and as little as $1.
Webster confirmed her reputation for passing on some luck at 6:22 p.m. Tuesday, when she pecked a Mega Millions ticket now worth an estimated $24 million.
"That's my signature thingamajiggy now," she said.
Webster and her younger brother, Robert Lyseight, who runs the restaurant, had a good idea of who held the winning ticket, even before the winner claimed her prize today.
Carroll Station gets a prize of its own, beyond the new "Jackpot" banner hanging from the blue awning outside.
The restaurant will receive a $25,000 "agent bonus" for making the winning sale, which Lyseight said he will invest in the business.
"It's a boost. It's a well-needed boost," he said. "We are so excited that we sold the winning Mega Millions ticket at our store."
Lyseight opened the restaurant a year and a half ago, with help from a friend and his Jamaican-born sister, brother and mother.
Webster repeated her tradition yesterday for customers who bought lottery tickets. But lottery office workers who walked over from Montgomery Park could only order the Caribbean or American favorites for lunch. The office building houses the Maryland State Lottery Agency, and its employees are not allowed to play.
Carroll Station began selling lottery tickets about four months ago, and slowly more and more regulars have started to buy them there, Lyseight said.
Now that a $24 million winner was sold there, Webster may be kissing a lot more tickets every day.
The store that sold the winning $24 million Mega Millions lottery ticket - where each lottery ticket is kissed for luck.
Marlene Webster, who kissed the winning lottery ticket, and Robert Lyseight, who runs the restaurant.