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She won a $1 million NC lottery prize because her mom fell asleep

Lourell Leak told NC lottery officials she never would have gone to the store to buy scratch-off tickets had the family’s nightly card game not been canceled because her mom was soundly asleep. She won a $1 million prize.
Lourell Leak told NC lottery officials she never would have gone to the store to buy scratch-off tickets had the family’s nightly card game not been canceled because her mom was soundly asleep. She won a $1 million prize. NC Education Lottery

A North Carolina woman credits winning a $1 million lottery prize to her mother’s slumber.

Lourell Leak told state lottery officials she never would have gone to buy a $20 scratch-off ticket on a recent Friday night had the family’s weekly card game not been canceled because her mom was soundly asleep.

Her family plays cards on Friday nights after her shift as a meat packer at Smithfield Foods, according to an NC Education Lottery news release on Friday.

Leak lives in Magnolia, an Eastern NC town of about 900 people two miles from Interstate 40 in Duplin County.

She bought a 100X The Cash ticket at the C-Check store on Brinson Road in Magnolia, according to the lottery’s news release. She said she figured she’d won $20 or $30, Leak told officials when she claimed her prize at lottery headquarters Friday.

100X The Cash.jpg
NC Education Lottery

“When I saw the $1 million, I did a double take,” she said, according to the release. “I couldn’t believe it.”

When Leak showed the ticket to the clerk, the clerk told her she had won $1 million and “we started hugging.”

I took the ticket home and woke my mom up to show her,” Leak told lottery officials. “I’m so glad she was sleeping. If she wasn’t, I never would have won the prize.”

Her odds of winning $1 million do not appear on the game’s website, although the odds of winning the top $4 million prize are shown as 1 in 1.8 million.

Leak, who could choose between a $1 million annuity with 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a $600,000 lump sum, chose the lump sum, according to the NC Education Lottery. After tax withholdings, she took home $424,506.

She plans to buy a house with some of her winnings and help her daughter and granddaughter however needed, the lottery news release said.

She also intends to celebrate with her co-workers. “(I’m) going to tell them that lunch is on me,” Leak said in the release.



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