We are putting this story under entertainment since lottery is entertainment, but we’d have found a section to put this story anyway, because this miraculous tale of an old broke woman living on disability and turning a millionaire overnight is sure to cheer some hearts. But more than anything else, the story is about how it happened.
Because as this woman, Cervera, told reporters on Friday, while coming forward to claim her prize of $23 million, “I have maybe a dollar in my pocket, they just shut off my cable, my electric bill is $600 and my account is also overdrawn.” And she forgot all about the ticket for months; the claim would have expired this month if the state lottery officials did not air a surveillance photo, desperately searching for the winner. At the same time, the winner didn’t even have enough money to afford cable.
Cervera, a resident of Victorville was broke and living on disability for the last 20 years. The lottery ticket was purchased on May 30 by Cervera’s adult daughter in a liquor store in Palmdale, and would have expired at the end of this month. According to state lottery officials this is the second time that they have been compelled to air a store surveillance video in search of the winner of a jackpot.
The purchase was tracked by using the electronic records system and then a clip of the store surveillance video that showed Cervera’s daughter purchasing the ticket was aired to search for the winner of the California SuperLotto Plus. Cervera had stashed the ticket in her car and forgot all about it, never bothering to check it against the winning number.
It was on Thursday that another daughter of Cervera texted her the surveillance photo. Cervera said, “I put on my 99-cent glasses, I saw it, and I thought she (her daughter) robbed a bank.” She misunderstood the purpose of the photo at first.
Cervera, who has adopted two boys with special needs, said she wants the winning in a lump-sum, amounting to about $18 million after taxes, and wants to share the money with her children and grandchildren.