Rita Windsor of Hughesville and her son Wayne collected the first $50,000 top prize on the Pay Me! scratch-off. (Photo courtesy Md. Lottery)
BALTIMORE (Jan. 9, 2017)—The holidays came early for a 58-year-old grandmother from Hughesville. Rita Windsor was traveling with her son to see holiday lights when they made a lucky stop for hot chocolate.
Wayne Windsor suggested they buy their hot beverage at Sheetz #318 in Great Mills. While there, they also decided to buy scratch-offs. Wayne purchased three of the $5 Pay Me! instant tickets that went on sale statewide on Nov. 28 and won $75. Rita's solitary Pay Me! scratch-off delivered the first $50,000 top prize of the game!
"I was sitting in the car scratching it when I saw I matched the 19," said Rita. "I scratched the prize amount and saw a 5 and a 0 and thought it was for $50." After further inspection, she realized that $50 was really $50,000!
"Am I seeing this right?" Rita asked. Wayne went back inside to confirm the win with the cashier. He returned with great news. "You are not seeing things, mom," he told her. "It's real."
Rita tucked the winning ticket way down in her purse and proceeded to see the Christmas lights. The Charles County resident doesn't drive, so she had to wait for Wayne to get a day off from work to claim the prize at Lottery headquarters in Baltimore. The mother of four told Lottery officials that during her weeks of waiting, she kept her purse by her side. "I even slept with it," she said.
Rita said 2016 was a tough year for her family because both her daughter and her husband passed away. The grandmother of 20 said she feels that her guardian angels brought her the lucky win. She has no immediate plans for her prize except to put the winnings in the bank.
Her lucky retailer also shares in the celebration. The St. Mary's County Sheetz located at 20760 Old Great Mills Road in Great Mills will receive a $500 bonus from the Lottery for selling the top-prize scratch-off in the game. There are still plenty of prizes awaiting players who try their luck with the Pay Me! scratch-off. There are seven more $50,000 top prizes along with thousands of others ranging from $5 to $5,000.