A North Carolina woman won the Mother's Day lottery in the most literal possible sense, CNN reports. That's because a family member gifted her with a $1 lottery ticket that turned out to be a million-dollar winner.
Giving lottery tickets as gifts seems to some to be kind of rude, or cheap. In fact, stand-up comedians have done bits about it ("Here you go, here's nothing!"). But if the ticket turns out to be a winner, who can complain?
That's how Vielka Roman sees it, anyway. She was at a Raleigh grocery store on Mother's Day when, on a whim, a relative bought her a $1 lottery ticket for Carolina Cash 5, which was her favorite game. That game relies on five balls being drawn, and if a winner has the matching numbers, they win (or split with other winners) the jackpot; if not, the prize rolls over until the next draw.
Prizes for this game are generally in the mid-hundreds of thousands, but by Mother's Day, the jackpot had rolled over so many times that it was worth just north of $1.3 million.
And so it was that on the next day, Vielka checked her North Carolina Lottery app on her phone and saw a screen that few users of the app ever see: confetti filled her screen. She had won the jackpot! Specifically, she won $1,354,174 before taxes.
"I was in shock," she said.When someone wins a lottery prize like this, it's impossible to just take it to a convenience store to redeem it. Most convenience stores don't keep hundreds of thousands in cash in the drawer, after all. Rather, you have to take it to a lottery office, generally in your state's capitol city.
Fortunately, Vielka, who was leaving for vacation that day, had been in Raleigh at the time, which is the capitol of North Carolina. She turned right around, went to the lottery office, and claimed her prize.
Unfortunately, good lottery-related news is always accompanied by a sliver of bad lottery-related news, and that's taxes. Once state and federal authorities took their cut, Vielka walked home with $958,078, which is still a hefty sum considering her one-dollar investment.
As for what Vielka plans to do with the money: she plans to pay off her mortgage and her car note and give some money to her sister.
"We just moved here, just bought a house. It will be nice to have room to breathe. We will be able to spend more time with each other as a family," she says.