Stay-at-home mother Mi Hyun Moon said she is “overjoyed” she did not stay home Sept. 14.
On that day, the Pennsylvania resident, who lived in Queens for more than 20 years before moving out three years ago, was in town for a short visit with her mother-in-law.
But she made a decision that paid for her trip thousands of times over when she chose to stop in at the Imperial Deli on 21st Street in Long Island City to buy a New York Lottery ticket, which ended up being worth $5 million, the Lottery announced Oct. 28.
The South Korean native claimed her ticket Oct. 8 at the Lottery’s Customer Service Center in Lower Manhattan, choosing to receive a lump-sum payment of more than $2.8 million before tax, which comes to almost $1.9 million after federal and state taxes are withheld. The winning numbers were drawn Sept. 19.
“When I realized I had won, all I could think to say was, ‘Oh, my God,’” Moon, a mother of two, said through a translator in a Lottery statement. “I come back to Queens to visit with family and friends once a month or so. This is one visit I will never forget!”
All six numbers on her ticket, which the New York Post reported was the first she ever bought, matched the Sept. 19 Lotto drawing, meaning she had won the jackpot. The odds of winning the top prize on a $1 Lotto game ticket are one in 22.5 million, a Lottery spokeswoman said.
The Post said she only bought the ticket in order to get change for $5 before a bus ride back to her home near Philadelphia.
“To be honest, I am still getting over the initial shock,” Moon said. “I am still dreaming of all the things I can do with the money, but one thing is for sure: The kids’ college funds are paid for.”
Moon, who called the experience “surreal,” also said she would donate some of her winnings to her church.
The New York Lottery is the largest and most profitable in North America, according to the statement. It has brought the state more than $36.7 billion in education funds since its founding 40 years ago. Last fiscal year it earned the state $2.54 billion.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cn
©2009 Community News Group
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