Canadian grandmother learns lottery prize is worth $40M, not $40,000
(CNN) — Let’s pretend you just won $40 million. Do you sprint up and down the street “like a crazy woman”? Break into a “happy dance,” while holding your oversized lottery check? Celebrate by chowing down at a Chinese buffet with your family?
If you’re Maria Carreiro, the answer is all of the above — and then some.
The 51-year-old grandmother couldn’t contain her excitement, when she talked to, sang to and danced for reporters on Monday after her big, big win.
“Thank you Lord, thank you Lord!” sang the ebullient, dancing Carreiro.
The Portuguese immigrant bought the ticket last Friday at Variety and Video, a store in Toronto, according to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. It was a bit of a splurge, because she didn’t “have a lot of spending money,” but it was one that would change her life forever.
After an initial check on Saturday morning, she excitedly told her daughter that she had won $40,000.
“Then … she checked on the computer,” Carreiro recalled. “She said, ‘Mommy, you’re $40 million richer.’ ”
What followed was pure joy.
“So I ran down the street like a crazy woman and checked the lottery ticket, and it said $40 million,” she said of the winning ticket, which works out to about $39.4 U.S. dollars before taxes.
“And then I go, ‘Oh my god!’ And I ran back up the street, home. And then I go, ‘I need a glass of water,’ ” added an ever-smiling Carreiro, stirring laughter from the press corps.
For years, she worked in factories. Beyond that, many of her days have been spent caring for her children and grandchildren.
Now, the time has come to take care of all of them and herself.
That includes the honeymoon she never had, in Hawaii, with her husband, who at first didn’t believe they’d struck it rich but has since quit his job. Carreiro said she also plans on using the money to buy a house “for my daughters and me.” (But first, she said, the family enjoyed an all-you-can-eat meal at a Chinese restaurant.)
While there’s no hiding their joy, her family is still coming to grips with their new, much richer reality — after years of hard work, sacrifice and doing what they could to get by.
“It still hasn’t sunk in,” said Carreiro’s daughter Manuela, her eyes welling with tears. “My dad works so hard, and we’ve been struggling so much … $40 million is so much money.”