Sometimes life is stranger than fiction, and this is exactly the case for Julie Cervera, the 69-year-old grandmother who became a millionaire overnight. In fact, she was the lucky winner of the $23 million jackpot for more than five months, but she never knew because she failed to check out the numbers drawn. With less than three weeks before her prize would have expired, a state lottery’s public appeal helped her claim the eight digits amount and finally put an end to all her financial struggles.
Finally a reason to smile
Julie struggled with financial problems for most of her life and things got even worse lately, as she was in danger of having her cable service and electricity shutoff due to unpaid bills. The lucky ticket was acquired in May by her daughter, when the two of them drove home and took a short break close to a shop selling lottery tickets among other things. Cervera occasionally purchased lottery tickets, but just as she confirmed, she rarely checked the winning numbers after the draw.
The same happened in May and this is how the $23 million ticket laid idle in the glove compartment of her car. When somebody send her a photo released by the state lottery and depicting her daughter buying the lottery ticket, she realized that all her financial problems were history. It was fortunate that lottery officials didn’t give up on her and went as far as to check the surveillance video from the shop where the ticket was purchased, then spread the news.
A godsend for the entire family
Cervera’s family was among those who struggled with poverty for decades, and the grandmother herself was a widow living on disability for almost 20 years. For years she had a hard time providing for her daughters and sons, but all of them including the grandchildren will be well taken care of with this money. Despite the financial difficulties, Julie also found the strength to adopt two young boys with developmental disabilities, one aged five and the other nine.
She intends to take them both to Disneyland and she said that a fraction of the money will go to them, while the only thing that she is determined to buy for herself is a pair of brand new Reeboks. The entire family was hit hard by tragedy last year when her 47-year-old son died in a motorcycle accident leaving behind four teenagers. All this money can’t bring him back, but if spent wisely it can greatly improve the lives of the rest of the family and this is exactly what Mrs. Cervera plans to do. She chose the lump payment which means that she will cash in on $17.8 million before taxes.