The Chicago area's garbage strike was a nuisance for many, but now it smells sweet to two lottery winners who had mistakenly thrown their $10.5 million ticket in the trash.
Chicago resident Ezekiel "Zeek" Garnett, 27, and his sister, Karen, 24, bought an Illinois Lotto ticket Oct. 4 in Niles but threw it out without checking the numbers. Their mother then heard that a ticket sold in Niles was a winner, and she checked the trash with her daughter.
Thanks to the nine-day garbage strike last month, the ticket matching all six numbers was in a bag still waiting to be picked up, lottery officials said.
Lottery Superintendent Carolyn Adams presented the winners with a commemorative oversized check Wednesday.
"This will definitely help me live more comfortably. But I'm still keeping my job at UPS," Zeek Garnett said Wednesday.
His sister, a baggage screener at Midway Airport, said she will pay off bills, buy a home and take her dream vacation to Hawaii.
"I always thought maybe I could go there on my honeymoon, but now it looks like I can go sooner," she said.
The siblings did not say what they would do for their mother, except that she would be taken care of financially.
Golf Mills Shopping Mall in Niles gets a 1 percent bonus of $105,000 for selling the winning ticket.