Believing she had won $40,000 in Canada's Lotto Max sweepstakes last Friday, an overjoyed Maria Carreiro shared the news with her daughter, who soon discovered that Carreiro was mistaken. It wasn't $40,000, according to the lottery website. It was $40 million!
Carreiro, a 51-year-old Toronto mother of three, couldn't control her emotions on Monday as she accepted an oversized check for $40 million, dancing about on national television while blowing kisses to the sky and repeatedly saying "thank you lord."
At a news conference earlier this week, the former factory worker and now a stay-at-home mom who cares for her five grandchildren acknowledged her initial confusion last week over the jackpot winnings
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"When I went to the machine I just see 40 because I’d never won this amount of money," she said, reported the National Post
. "I told [the clerk] can you check this for me please? He checks it. He doesn’t even know himself and he’s the store owner. I said 'Never mind, I’ll go home.'"
"I went home and I told my daughter, 'Oh I won $40,000.' She’s jumping off the bed too and then she calls her [sister] and says, 'Mommy won $40,000.'"
It was not until her daughter checked Carreiro's lotto ticket on her computer that she realized her actual winnings were $40 million.
"She goes 'Mommy, You’re $40-million richer.' I’m like 'No way, no way,'" said Carreiro.
"I run down the street [to the store] like a crazy woman and check the lottery ticket and it says $40-million and I go 'Oh my God.'"
As she received the $40 million check on television, Carreiro broke into what she calls a "happy dance." She was joined on stage by her husband Mario, a construction worker, and her daughter Manuela.
"It still hasn't sunk in, you know, that my dad works so hard and we've been struggling so much. It's just [sobbing] . . . Forty million dollars, it's just so much," said Manuela.
Mario, who appeared somewhat in disbelief, said that as soon as the $40 million was confirmed he went into his boss and said, "'I quit!'"
Having been together for 30 years, the hard-working couple had never had a honeymoon, until now.
"Now I'm going to Hawaii! My lifetime dream," exclaimed Carreiro as she jumped up and down on the stage.
The entire family is also planning a trip to Disneyland, said Carreiro, adding that she will use the winnings to buy a house for herself and houses for each of her children.
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In the immediate future, however, Carreiro said she plans to continue the celebration this week by taking the whole family out to a Mandarin All-You-Can-Eat Buffet.
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