This is Henrietta Henderson's reaction to winning $34 million in the Mega Millions drawing:
"I didn't really have a reaction."
The 71-year-old single mother of five from Uniondale was handed a check Tuesday morning for holding the ticket with the six winning numbers in the July 11 jackpot. Henderson stoically accepted a lump sum of $20.6 million in front of the Quick Pick Deli in Uniondale, where the winning ticket was purchased for $1.
These are her plans for her share of the cash: none.
The first thing she did after fending off a swarm of media and onlookers Tuesday morning? Eat breakfast.
Then the tight-lipped Henderson said she planned to play the lottery again. Tuesday night.
The Henderson clan each had a hand in picking the winning digits: 1, 4, 10, 16, 18 and Mega Ball 10. Their $5 to $10 weekly habit finally beat a 1 in 135,145,920 chance of winning. She and children don't know how they'll split the jackpot or what they'll do with it, aside from college tuition for the grandchildren.
Uniondale residents were in amazement as they loped through the crowded aisle of Quick Pick Deli, where bacon egg sandwiches sizzled on a hot griddle and the air rang with Dominican accents.
"Somebody's moving out of the 'hood," one customer muttered as he ducked out of the red brick corner deli.
But Henrietta Henderson, who hails from North Carolina, said she's staying put. Things won't change, she said. And there are no worries big bucks will yield big problems, she added.
"Things haven't really changed," said her son, Eugene Henderson, 49, of Uniondale. "We're still the same people."
Henrietta Henderson meets questions head-on with quietude while deflecting anything too probing. She is retired. Don't ask what from. She spends her spare time with her four surviving children and 10 grandchildren. She moved to Long Island 30 years ago "because I wanted to see new places."
Will she give to charity?
Not sure yet.
Henderson's gold mine proved to be a payoff for deli owner Raphael Rodriguez. The Freeport resident, 42, was given a bonus check for $10,000 as part of a retailer appreciation program.
"It's OK, you know," said Rodriguez regarding his cash prize as he shuffled about in a bone-white uniform spattered with grease and took orders during the lunch-hour rush.
"Same thing," said the father of two. "I've got to continue work."
Maybe he'll buy a new sign for the deli he's owned for five years, Rodriguez said. Nothing else.
The Hendersons are playing it cool as well. So Henrietta Henderson stood poised in a caramel skirt that reached toward her ankles and donned a light brown floral-print shirt accentuated by gold hoop earrings and a shock of curly locks that verged on tangerine.
What went through her mind when she won?
"Nothing ... "