Over five months ago, Julie Cervera, 69, of Victorville, California, and her daughter Charlena Marquez were driving home together when her daughter got carsick and they stopped for water at a Palmdale liquor store. Cervera convinced her daughter to buy a Super Lotto Plus ticket, which she put in her glove compartment and then forgot.
The winning $23 million ticket lay in the glove compartment while Julie Cervera struggled to pay a $600 electrical bill, her cable company, and buy food. On Thursday, someone texted her a photo of the buyer of the winning ticket, which she recognized after putting on TWO pairs of 99-cent eyeglasses, but she could not read the caption! After putting on a third pair, Cervera could read that she had won the lottery.
It’s been there for five months,” Cervera said Friday at a news conference with her three adult children and half a dozen grandchildren lined up behind her. “I’ve got like 200 tickets laying around my house. I never check my tickets.”
But when she finally looked in the glove compartment, the winning ticket was right where she left it. It was set to expire Nov. 26, so the California Lottery went looking for the winner.
Cervera is a widow who has lived on disability for 20 years. Last year, her 47-year-old son Rudy was killed in a motorcycle accident, leaving four teenaged children.
“I’d give it all up to have my son here again,” she said and began to cry. Her oldest grandson, Rudy Jr., hugged her and the whole family wiped away tears.
“My grandkids are all going to be taken care of, and my (three) daughters,” she said. “I’m just so happy. I’m going to buy me a pair of Reeboks.”
She also has two adopted sons, ages 5 and 9, who have developmental disabilities.
“A big portion is going to them, so that when I’m gone they’ll be OK,” she said. “I’m going to take them to Disneyland. I really am! And we’re going to pay for everything.”
Cervera will take a one-time cash payment of $17.8 million.
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