ATLANTA — Family was foremost on Ira Curry’s mind when she bought her Mega Millions lottery ticket, Georgia Lottery Commission officials said.
The Stone Mountain woman picked numbers that were a combination of family birthdays and her family’s lucky number — 7 — as the Mega Ball, officials said.
As a result, Curry’s family will be rewarded with half of the $636 million jackpot in what authorities are calling the second-largest Mega Millions jackpot in U.S. history.
Another winner in San Jose, Calif., also chose the numbers 8, 14, 17, 20 and 39, along with lucky No. 7 for the Mega Ball, officials said.
Curry was not at the 3:45 p.m. news conference announcing her win, but lottery officials said she has chosen the cash option.
She bought the winning ticket at Gateway Newsstands on the ground floor of the Alliance Center building at 3500 Lenox Road, across from Phipps Plaza in Buckhead.
Others who work at the building say they are glad for her, despite not winning themselves.
“I was happy to hear it was someone who works here,” said Chris York, who works in the building. “I wish I had thought to buy a ticket this week.”
Flavio Piwowarezyk also works in the building and said he buys a ticket every week from Gateway.
“Unfortunately, that wasn’t my ticket,” he said. “This morning I heard them say (the ticket) was purchased in Buckhead, and I was thrilled. Then I heard it was bought here. But I had all the wrong numbers.”
Still, Piwowarezyk sent out positive vibes for the winner.
“Good for … her,” he said.
Two other Georgia players matched the first five numbers drawn Tuesday — but not the Mega Ball of 7 — and won $1 million each, Georgia Lottery officials said. Eighteen players in other states also matched those same five numbers and won $1 million.
The Mega Millions jackpot had been climbing since October, and had neared the record high of $656 million before Tuesday night’s game.
Young Soo Lee has worked at the Gateway Newsstands franchise, which sells cards, gifts and snacks, for nine years.
She told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she thinks she might have sold the winning ticket on Tuesday.
With the wins, the jackpot for Friday’s drawing was reset to $15 million.
The top prize in Wednesday night’s Powerball multistate lottery is $50 million.