BRAINTREE, Mass. — The two co-workers had a ritual for the past 10 months. She would buy two Powerball tickets, write their names on the back, and then give him a copy.
It may have seemed a modest indulgence. The longest of long shots.
But on Wednesday night, it paid off big-time — with more than $11 million for each of them.
Rosa DeLeon, 52, of Arlington and Reginald LeBlanc, 54, of Lexington, who work at the Costco in Waltham, bought a $50 million Powerball ticket at a gas station in Lexington.
The two, who appeared at a news conference at state lottery headquarters this afternoon, opted for the $33 million lump sum payment option. After taxes are deducted, the prize comes to $23.1 million. And, true to their agreement, they plan to split it.
Both said that they were still coming to grips with the shock of winning.
"I couldn't believe it," said LeBlanc of his reaction. "I can't believe that the six numbers came out that was on the ticket."
LeBlanc, who was missing several front teeth, said he would use the money to get some dental work.
"I definitely need a lot of teeth work. That's one of my first things to get fixed," he said.
He said it had been difficult to not have teeth and it would mean "everything" to get them fixed.
DeLeon said she started playing Powerball when everyone else pitched in during some recent huge jackpots. But then, she said, for some reason, she and LeBlanc kept playing together. Twice a week.
"He told me his stories and with my stories .. I figured the good Lord just brought us together," she said. "'I said, we're going to continue playing, just the two of us.'"
The two were both working this morning — LeBlanc works in service, while DeLeon works on the floor — when LeBlanc saw the winning numbers on the television in the break room.
Asked if they were going to quit their jobs, both DeLeon and LeBlanc said Costco was a great company and they hadn't decided yet whether to quit. They also said they would continue to shop at Costco, despite their millions.
"My family can't believe it. Just like I can't. And people told Reggie and I it couldn't happen to better people," said DeLeon, who has five grown children.
The winning ticket had the numbers 8-10-25-36-44, and a Powerball of 28. The ticket was sold at Lexington Shell at 915 Waltham St., and the lucky numbers were pulled on 12/12/12.
Store manager Adam Muise said earlier today that a man claiming to be the Powerball winner had walked into the store but kept to himself.
"He really didn't say anything, just stood off to the side," Muise said. "He was really calm."
The man told Muise that he had split the ticket with a friend and was hoping to meet up with the other winner at the Shell station.
The man said he had a copy of the ticket but that his friend had the original. The man, who was apparently LeBlanc, bought nothing and left.
"We congratulated him," Muise said. "I think we were more excited than he was."
The same store sold a scratch ticket last year with a $1 million prize, said Muise, who has worked at the Shell station for three years.
"We're a pretty lucky store, I'd say," Muise said.
He is confident that the luck will continue and hopes to sell more big winners in the future.
Muise said he regrets not buying a ticket this round.
"I wish I did, because it could have been me," he said.
But he hasn't thought about what he would do with a check that large.
"I'm not really sure," Muise said. "That's a lot of money."
The owner of Lexington Shell will get a $50,000 commission for selling the lucky ticket, Bresnahan said, which is the top retailer commission offered in the Bay State.
This is the second jackpot-winning ticket sold in the state since the game was introduced to Massachusetts in January 2010, she said.
Jimmy Freeman, a retired Navy civilian worker from Fall River, took home a $25.6 million Powerball jackpot in June 2011, Bresnahan said. Freeman claimed his $13.4 million cash prize the day after the numbers were pulled.
The Powerball jackpot for Saturday, Dec. 1, resets to about $40 million, Bresnahan said.