Watch CBS News

'A Pipe Dream I've Always Had:' $758.7 Million Powerball Winner Comes Forward

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The sole winner of the $758.7 million Powerball jackpot has come forward.

Mavis L. Wanczyk, of Chicopee, Massachussetts is the lucky winner and said she found out when she was leaving work last night.

"I was just like, 'It's never going to be me. It's just a pipe dream I've always had," Wanczyk said.

The jackpot is the largest grand prize won by a single lottery ticket in U.S. history.

The lucky numbers were 6, 7, 16, 23 and 26, and the Powerball number was 4.

Wanczyk, a hospital worker, was leaving work with a colleague who was reading the numbers. That's when she realized she had won.

"He was reading these numbers and I pulled mine out and I go, 'Hey I have that, I have that, I have that.' He goes, 'Let me see that ticket.' He goes, 'You just won.' I go, 'You're joking, come on, please.' He said 'Sign that ticket now.'"

Wanczyk said she was stunned and couldn't drive and her colleague followed her home to make sure she got there safely.

"Last night it was kind of like I didn't realize I won. Today, as I'm driving here I'm still like 'Oh, this isn't true. This can't be.' And now it's like 'Umm... I am a winner.' And I'm scared, but I'll be OK," Wanczyk said.

Wanczyk said she chose the numbers and also purchased two quick picks. She chose the numbers basically at random, except one.

"There's a thing between me, and my mom, and my stepfather and I have a friend -- we all go out to dinner Friday night and we play keno, and our number is four," she said. "I just happened to choose it, and it worked."

Wanczyk said she's looking forward to taking some time to figure out exactly what she wants to do.

"The first thing I want to do is I just want to sit back and relax. And I had a pipe dream and my pipe dream has finally come true. I wanted to retire in 12 and it came early," Wanczyk said.

Wanczyk, 53, worked Mercy Medical Center for 32 years - right until the moment she realized she had won.

"I've called them and I've told them I will not be coming back," she said.

She said she never considered waiting before coming forward, because "I just wanted to get it over and done with and then everybody will just leave me alone."

Wanczyk said she'd been "OK" financially before her windfall.

"I'm not going to say I'm the richest person in the world. I can't say I'm the poorest person in the world. I make due with what I have," she said.

She has a 31-year-old daughter and 26-year-old son.

Asked how she was going to go celebrate, Wanczyk joked "I'm going to go hide in my bed."

She's taking the lump sum, which is roughly $336 million after taxes.

The highly-anticipated jackpot announcement was marred after officials initially announced the wrong location for the sale of the winning ticket.

The Massachusetts State Lottery had initially announced on Twitter that the winning ticket was sold at the Handy Variety convenience store in Watertown. But shortly before 8 a.m. Thursday, the state lottery said it had made a mistake.

The winning ticket was actually sold at the Pride Station & Store in Chicopee, which is about 90 miles west of Boston and 30 miles north of Hartford, Connecticut.

"Later in the morning, our internal systems ran a report, that it runs each day, that correctly identified Chicopee as being the agent location where the jackpot prize had been won," Michael Sweeney, the lottery's executive director, said.

Sweeney said the mistake was due to human error.

He said officials were manually recording the names of the retailers that sold the winning ticket, as well as two tickets that won $1 million prizes. He says they transcribed it incorrectly.

Sweeney issued an apology for the confusion created by the error, but said lottery staff remained thrilled that a jackpot winning ticket and two $1 million winning tickets were sold in the state.

He pledged a review of how the error occurred to prevent future occurrences.

Reporters descended on the Handy Variety convenience store after the initial, incorrect announcement.

"Lucky store, I hope," said Handy Variety owner Kamajeet Kaur.

She has owned the store for 11 years, and was looking forward to her seller's payday, CBS2's Ali Bauman reported. The store was set to receive $50,000 for selling the winning ticket.

"I'm just happy," Kaur said.

Kaur said watching her $50,000 payday disappear left her in a "bad mood."

In the Tri-State area, there were $1 million winners in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

More: New Jersey Man Wins $1 Million On Powerball With Help From His Family

The three New York $1 million winning tickets were sold at a Hudson News in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Chunnu News on 3rd Avenue and 44th Street and at a Kwik Fill in the upstate town of Cheektowaga, New York, outside Buffalo.

"I'm feeling happy, you know?" said Abdul Choudhury, owner of Chunnu News. "When we have a big winner, the customers are going to come, they're going to play more."

Choudhury said the store says about 70,000 tickets a week, which makes them one of the most active locations in Midtown.

The Two New Jersey $1 million winning tickets were sold at L and K Petroleum on Route 47 in Dorchester and W&R Mini Market and Deli on Nagle Street in Paterson.

In Connecticut, a $1 million winning ticket was sold in Litchfield County. A $2 million prize was also sold in Hartford County.

Bob Bolduc, the owner of the Pride Station & Store chain in Chicopee, said he intends to give all the $50,000 he expects to receive for selling the winning ticket to local charities in western Massachusetts.

"I thought the lottery might be very embarrassed right now," he said.

Bolduc said he took the announcement in stride.

"I was up working and didn't even know about it," he said. "Then we found out directly that we had won it and by then all the confusion was gone."

The rare circumstances inspired others to try their luck at the store.

"I don't buy scratch tickets, I just felt like doing it because someone won here," one woman said.

"I'm going in and buying another one. Lightning might strike twice," a man added.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.