Couple from St. Thomas pick up $26M Lotto Max win
Gerry and Helen Phillips picked up their $26-million cheque at the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto, Ont. on Thursday.
The St. Thomas couple just discovered days ago that they'd won the Aug. 6 Lotto Max draw.
Gerry said in a statement, "Helen worked an overnight nursing shift, so I decided to take a couple of the grandchildren out for breakfast...I passed an OLG ticket checker, which reminded me that I had a ticket in my pocket. When I saw the all numbers on the ticket checker, my brain did not register it was $26 million – I thought it was $260,000.”
He was so stunned that after checking the ticket again at the kiosk, he went home to use the OLG Lottery app to check yet again.
“I had to wake up Helen to show her what was on the tablet screen. It was flashing ‘Congratulations $26 million winner.’ We woohoo’ed a few times!”
The couple then decided to travel to London, Ont. to validate the ticket at a retailer and talk to OLG about the next steps in collecting their prize money.
OLG says they are the first from Ontario to win one of the new Lotto Max Tuesday draws.
And Gerry said he almost didn't use the free plays he'd won on another ticket to buy the big winner, “I paused for a moment when I saw the jackpot was only $26 million...but I then decided to get the ticket. Thank goodness I didn’t keep walking!”
Gerry is a retired electronic technician, and Helen, who has been a nurse for 46 years, says she is definitely retiring.
She added that they'll be sharing the winnings with their three children and seven grandchildren, but will take a few months to think about their next steps.
But there is one thing they're certain they'll use some of the money for - a 'bucket-list' vacation.
The winning ticket was purchased at Shoppers Drug Mart on First Avenue in St. Thomas.