Seven Calif. workers share $315 million lottery prize
07:34 PM CST on Wednesday, November 16, 2005
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Reporters and would-be millionaires swarmed a mom-and-pop gift shop Wednesday where a winning $315 million lottery ticket was sold, then shifted to the Kaiser Permanente medical center in Garden Grove when they found out seven employees there shared the golden ticket.
The “lucky seven,” as people have begun to call them, have asked to stay anonymous for now, said Kaiser spokeswoman Barbara Shipnuck.
“People had stopped playing because nobody was winning,” said a secretary at the medical center who declined to identify herself. “Now they have.”
It was the third-richest prize won with a single ticket in the history of lotteries in the United States. The numbers drawn Tuesday night were: 2-4-5-40-48 and mega number 7.
The ticket was bought at Rainbow Water, Juice, Flower & Gift. At the tiny sundries shop not far from Disneyland, Raquel Cordova was busy fielding interviews and selling more lottery tickets.
The family will receive $1 million for selling the winning ticket.
A couple of years ago, owners Guadalupe and Jose Cordova were considering selling the store but changed their minds, their daughter said.
“My mom's like 'no, no, someday I'll hit it big and I'll be able to retire,” said Raquel, 20.
Her mother was shaking after receiving the telephone call notifying her of the win, her daughter said. Guadalupe, 52, and Jose, 53, decided to take the day off and let their kids work, Raquel said.
“Mom's gonna take a long vacation ... she's here seven days a week, even on Sundays,” Raquel said.
As for her father, “he's too excited. He can't work,” she said.
Her sister, 18-year-old Mayra, also works at the store after school and her brother, Jose Jr., 29, used to man the counter when he was younger, Raquel said.
Her parents are considering taking a vacation in Las Vegas but Raquel said she is holding out for Brazil.
The store has sold dozens of other winning tickets over the six or seven years it has been in business, and they were pasted on the wall. But most were for around $25 or $50. The largest was just over $1,000.
Most of those who purchase the lottery tickets are regular customers but the store actually sold fewer tickets than usual Tuesday, Raquel said.
Often, customers promise to share the wealth if they win.
“There was a guy who was telling my sister, 'I'm gonna buy you a Mercedes. So we're waiting for that guy,” Raquel said. “Maybe he'll bring two separate keys.”
Just last month, an Oregon family claimed the largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history won by a single ticket, $340 million. The numbers were drawn Oct. 19 in the other big multistate lottery, Powerball. Until then, the richest undivided lottery jackpot in U.S. history was the $314.9 million Powerball jackpot won by a West Virginia man on Christmas Day 2002.
On May 9, 2000, the jackpot for the Big Game – the forerunner of Mega Millions – grew to $363 million. But that record amount wound up being split between two winning tickets.
In addition to the grand prize winner Wednesday, three players matched all five numbers but not the mega ball number. They will receive prizes of $256,171 each.
An additional 22 players matched four numbers, plus the mega ball – good for prizes of $9,527 each.
In addition to California, Mega Millions is played in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington.