After winning $100,000 from a scratch-off ticket, a Dundalk woman won $10,000 a week later, also from a scratch-off.
Michelle Fowler, 39, said she stopped at the Wise Avenue BP gas station on March 22 to buy her husband Dean, 38, two $20 scratch-off books. She paid with a $50 bill, and because she had $10 left over, bought a "Winner's Luck" ticket for herself.
"I'm so tight with money. Dean is the gambler," she said. "If I buy myself a ticket once every three months, it's a lot."
The first amount Fowler scratched off with her husband's lucky quarter was for $10,000. Her husband, who buys tickets three or four days each week, immediately knew it would be a $100,000 ticket, because she still had 14 numbers left to scratch off.
"I think I was in so much shock. I think I was speechless for a minute," she said. "My son thought that [my husband] had fallen down the steps" because he heard his father jumping up and down.
The following Saturday, March 29 — the couple's sixth wedding anniversary — the Fowlers were leaving the Harford County area and stopped at the Royal Farms in White Marsh to get a drink. The couple spent $50 or $60 on scratch-off tickets, Fowler said, and she won an additional $10,000 on a $10 "Club Casino" ticket, again using the lucky quarter.
Fowler said her husband was blown away by the statistical odds of winning twice in one week. He has since drilled a hole in the center of the lucky quarter and put it on a key ring to scratch off future tickets, she said.
Although Fowler is not much of a gambler, she said she plans to try her luck once again this weekend, because "they say things come in threes." If she doesn't win again, Fowler said she won't buy tickets for awhile.
"That means that I'll quit while I'm ahead," she said.
The couple, who own a home improvement company together, has already used some of the winnings to pay off bills, and plans to pay their son's Calvert Hall College High School tuition for next year up-front. They also might purchase new windows for their home and take a nicer vacation this year — their son wants to go back to Hawaii.
"We've already spent a lot of it paying off some bills to make our lives easier," Fowler said. "Nothing fun, but stuff that we could use."
Erica Palmisano, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency's assistant communications director, said it was rare to see someone win twice.
"We're always excited to see winners, but to come in two times within a two-week period is very unusual and very exciting for us," she said.