Two friends from Lido Beach, New York, won $8.3 million in the Lotto drawing on March 18, the New York State Gaming Commission announced Wednesday.
Longtime friends Randi Bernstein, 63, and Elizabeth Kelly, 56, both of Lido Beach in Nassau County, New York, collected $8.3 million in winnings. The friends — who plan to share the profits — matched all six numbers of the Lotto drawing on March 18.
Bernstein, an Avon rep and mother of two, said she's going to use the money to pay for some of the property damage she sustained during Hurricane Sandy and to replace her old car.
"It's very helpful," she said. "Things have been rather difficult between Sandy and personal things, so it's very life-altering. This will make things a little easier to say the least. I'm very happy."
Bernstein and Kelly have been buying lottery tickets together for the last few months.
"I bought the tickets, she checks the tickets — that's how the arrangement was," Bernstein said. "It's surreal. It's kind of impossible to wrap your head around."
She spent $2 on four sets of Lotto Quick Picks inside Rip's Cards & Things on Long Beach Rd. in Oceanside.
The duo discovered they had won when they checked the Sunday paper the morning after the drawing.
"I was in total denial," said Bernstein. "I thought, how could this be? And then there was a lot of crying."
Kelly, who works for the U.S. Postal Service, said the win is a big help for her, too.
But she hasn't figured out what to do with the money yet.
"You don't believe it," she said.
The winning numbers for the March 18 New York Lotto drawing were 1, 3, 20, 27, 30, and 49.
They each chose to receive a one-time payment totaling $1.7 million after taxes, lottery officials said.
Separately, in Queens a retired city worker's breakfast pit stop led to a life-altering bonanza.
Anokye Kwaku, 74, from Jamaica, was out for breakfast last month when he stopped by the Guru Hari Stationers store on Baisley Blvd. to "play his numbers" and buy a $10 Set for Life scratch-off ticket.
"I took a shot on a Set for Life ticket, too, because I've won a few dollars on that one in the past," he said Wednesday.
The retired city Department of Environmental Protection worker never actually scratched off the ducat inside the store.
Instead, he had a store clerk run the ticket's barcode under a scanner.
"Is it real?" he asked being told about the jackpot.
The father of two chose to receive the cash value of the $5,000 A Week For Life prize, lottery officials said.
On Wednesday, he received a ceremonial single payment check of $3.9 million — which is worth $2.4 million after taxes.
He's got some big plans for the money.
"I plan to help my children and travel," he said. "My first trip will be to South Africa. I've been planning it for a while. But now, I can actually go!"
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