Wanna Limpawuchara says she only plays "the biggies." So when the Lotto jackpot climbed toward $9 million this week, the Thai-born nurse wanted a piece of it.
What she and her husband, Bundhit, 46, a medical technologist, got yesterday was the whole nine yards, er, million, as the only winners of Wednesday's drawing.
It took a little doing and a lot of luck, though, said Mrs. Limpawuchara, 45. The lottery machine at an Ellicott City pizza shop was broken when she tried to buy tickets Tuesday. Determined to play "a biggie," she tried again Wednesday morning, buying four tickets at a U.S. 40 liquor store. That evening, her daughter, Joy, 10, watched the televised drawing.
"I was washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen," Mrs. Limpawuchara said. "My daughter ran in yelling that we had five numbers and I was really happy. But then I checked and it was all six."
The Ellicott City residents are Maryland's 491st lottery millionaires and the 12th Lotto winners from Howard County.
Yesterday, at lottery headquarters at Reisterstown Road Plaza, the couple still appeared dazed by their newfound fortune.
Lottery Director William Rochford presented them with a symbolic check for the $9 million. Their first real check will be for $422,702. Nineteen more will follow, one a year, each one $425,000.
"I still don't believe it. We're still going to be the same," Mrs. Limpawuchara said. The couple said they will retire from regular work, at least for a while, and start planning this summer's trip to Thailand to visit family and friends.
Is there anything they have wanted, really wanted, but couldn't afford -- until now?
Mrs. Limpawuchara shook her head, but her husband looked up and said, "A Mercedes -- and my son wants a Ferrari." But he's only 12 years old.