Borrowed Buck Turns Into $25M

When coworkers at Kaiser Permanente in Anaheim, Calif., approached Kate Lynn Juergens and asked if she wanted to chip in to buy tickets to the Mega Millions lottery with a jackpot of $315 million, she said sure. But Juergens had to borrow a dollar to do it.

Turns out, that was a wise decision.

Juergens and six others bought 21 tickets, one of which turned out to be the winner.

Now, she and the others are splitting the winnings. They chose the lump sum cash option, which means all seven will get about $25 million before taxes.

Oh, and Juergens says she still owes that dollar to the lender.

She and two of the other lucky workers chatted with The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler Monday about their sudden good fortune.

Joyce Onori Syler it hasn't sunk in yet.

"Not really. Not really," she says. "One minute it does and the next minute it's like, 'This isn't happening.' Somehow, it really hasn't yet."

Jennifer Habib was the one who first realized the group had won.

"It came on the news about 6 or 6:10 Wednesday morning," Habib says, "and I hadn't seen the news Tuesday night. I didn't even know they had drawn the ticket. I really don't pay too much attention to the lottery and, as the numbers were on the screen, I jotted them down and started comparing them to the numbers we had on the ticket. And I said, 'This is unbelievable.' There was nobody there with me and I was ready to scream."

Juergens, who's also an interior design student, says she found out she was a winner when her cohorts called her at home: "I was in my pajamas, doing my homework. … They called me at home and said, 'Get your little rump in here.' And I ran."

Onori says that at first, "We just kept working, so we weren't thinking much at all," about what they were going to do with all that money. "And then it was just making a decision of going together as a group and taking the ticket in, and when we wanted to do that and how we wanted to do that."

Juergens says she's taking her family to Disneyworld.

Onori says she'll "probably buy a home and buy a car. And from there on, we have to be careful and do what's right and help who we can."

As for Habib, "My immediate plans are to buy a new car for my husband. He's been driving the same one for 15 years."
  • Jessica Goldman

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