The Latest: Clerk just happy to have touched winning ticket – Washington Post

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Mavis Wanczyk, from Chicopee, Mass., won the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history. (Reuters)

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

Mavis Wanczyk won the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history Wednesday, a $758 million Powerball jackpot that she celebrated by calling in newly rich, telling her longtime employer that she would not be coming to work. Not now, and not ever.

The 53-year-old from Chicopee, Mass., said on Thursday that she was just starting to come down — barely — from the shock and overwhelming excitement of discovering that she held the lone winning ticket.

“Last night, it was kind of like — I didn’t realize I had won,” she said at an afternoon news conference, where she smiled and posed with a giant check, on which the following was written: “PAY TO THE ORDER OF: Mavis L. Wanczyk | $758,700,000.”

“Now,” she said, “it’s like — I am a winner, and I’m scared. But I’ll be okay.”

“I had a pipe dream, and my pipe dream finally came true,” she added, explaining that she had hoped to retire early from Mercy Medical Center, where she has worked for 32 years.

Or had worked, anyway: After winning the Powerball, Wanczyk said, “I called them and told them I will not be coming back.”

Now, Wanczyk said that she just wants to “be alone and just be able to be me.”

Powerball announced that a single ticket sold at a convenience store in Chicopee, Mass., was the winner of the Aug. 23 $758.7 million jackpot. Here’s how winning the lottery has brought more than a windfall for some. (Taylor Turner/The Washington Post)

Massachusetts State Lottery officials said that Wanczyk, a regular lottery player, bought a total of five tickets, according to the Associated Press.

She purchased three tickets with numbers she chose along with two quick-pick tickets from the Pride Station & Store in Chicopee. The winning Powerball ticket was one that Wanczyk picked herself, using a combination of family birthdays and her lucky number, four. The winning numbers were: 6, 7, 16, 23 and 26, plus the Powerball number, 4.

“This was a chance — a chance I had to take,” she said.

The payout, which can be taken in a lump sum or in 29 yearly payments.

Lottery officials said Wanczykv chose the lump sum payment of $480 million ($336 million after taxes). It’s the largest grand prize won by a single lottery ticket in U.S. history, according to the AP.

Officials with the Massachusetts State Lottery initially reported that the winning ticket had been purchased at the Handy Variety convenience store in Watertown, about nine miles west of Boston.

The lottery later corrected that statement, saying the lone ticket had been purchased more than 80 miles from Watertown, in Chicopee, where Wanczyk lives. Handy Variety, in fact, sold a $1 million prize, according to the state lottery.

A Powerball ticket sold at a convenience store in Chicopee, Mass., won the $758.7 million jackpot. Bob Bolduc, the store owner, spoke to reporters Aug. 24. (Reuters)

Officials said another $1 million prize was sold in the state, at Sandy’s Variety in Dorchester.

Michael Sweeney, executive director of the Massachusetts State Lottery, apologized Thursday afternoon for the mix-up, saying it was the result of a “human error” but added that the lottery’s internal systems always had the correct information. He said those internal systems ran a routine report in the morning identifying Chicopee as the correct location, and lottery officials then checked to ensure that it was accurate.

Bob Bolduc, founder of Pride Station & Stores, where the prize was actually purchased, said the multimillion-dollar winning ticket was sold at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. He said that in the past year the convenience store chain has sold a handful of winning tickets worth $1 million or more, and he suspects that will “resonate with a lot of lottery buyers.”

Bolduc told reporters that the convenience store will receive a bonus for selling the winning ticket and plans to donate it to local charities throughout western Massachusetts.

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