A Massachusetts hospital worker who considered winning the lottery a "pipe dream" cashed in the most valuable ticket in U.S. history Thursday, hours after her numbers came up for the $758.7 million Powerball jackpot.
"My pipe dream came true," Mavis Wanczyk, of Chicopee, said at a news conference Thursday afternoon, adding that the first thing she wants to do is "hide in my bed."
Wanczyk, 53, said she worked for Mercy Medical Center in Springfield for 32 years.
"I called them and told them I will not be coming back," she said with a laugh.
She said she and a co-worker checked their numbers at work Wednesday night after the drawing. She said she was so rattled when she realized she won she was nervous about driving. Her co-worker followed her home.
Wanczyk, who has a 31-year-old daughter and a 26-year-old son, said her good fortune began to sink in Thursday.
"I have come down from all that," she said. "I want to just be me, be alone and figure out what I want to do."
Wanczyk, who chose to take a lump sum of $480 million before taxes, bought the ticket Wednesday afternoon at a Pride market in Chicopee, 90 miles west of Boston. Early Thursday, however, the lottery agency had said the winning ticket was sold at a convenience store outside Boston.
The initial announcement sent a flock of media to Handy Variety in Watertown. Handy Variety owner Kamaljeet Kaur took the updated news pretty well, considering she had been set to collect $50,000 for selling the big winner.
“I’m OK ... still happy,” she told The Boston Globe. Her solace: The store will receive $10,000 for selling a $1 million winning ticket.
State lottery Executive Director Michael Sweeney apologized for the confusion. He blamed a transcription error when officials manually recorded the dealers that sold the big winner and two other retailers that sold $1 million tickets.
Bob Boduc, who owns the Chicopee store, said he didn't find out his store sold the ticket until he started getting calls from national networks. He said he would contribute the store's $50,000 to local charities.
"It's really pretty amazing," he said. "It could have happened anywhere in the country. It's really a stroke of luck."
The winning numbers: 6-7-16-23-26 with a Powerball of 4
The prize was the second-largest Powerball payout in history, behind a $1.58 billion payout in 2016 shared by three winners. The drawing Wednesday night snapped a string of 20 in a row without a Powerball jackpot winner.
In addition to the big winner, many more hopefuls will come away with something from the drawing. Six people won $2 million each and 34 more won $1 million. Grand prize winner aside, 9,397,723 other tickets won more than $135 million, lottery officials said.
There are 292,201,338 possible Powerball combinations, making the odds of winning 1 in 292,201,338.00. So, at $2 a ticket, it would cost someone $584,402,676 to buy every possible combination.
The overall odds of winning any prize from one $2 ticket are 1 in 24.87.
There have been two other Powerball jackpots of at least $430 million this year. A jackpot in June reached $448 million, while another in February was worth $435 million.
The jackpot for Saturday's drawing drops to a mere $40 million. Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Contributing: Hillard Grossman, Florida Today.
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