An Urbana woman joked about her first name being symbolic of her life. Penny Warner said she’s "always been the person with no money," but all of that changed on Oct. 5 when leftover birthday funds led her to a $2 million Missouri Lottery prize.
Warner, who has never won more than $100 in the Missouri Lottery, scratched off a Missouri Lottery "Mega MONOPOLY™" Scratchers ticket and "could not believe it" when she read the prize amount.
"I was thinking, ’There’s no way this could happen to me,’" she recalled.
In an excited flurry, Warner pulled into a nearby town to take the ticket to a bank to "ask them to check the ticket for me." She said she thought she was dreaming and "just needed a witness," and figured a bank would be a safe place to go.
Her next steps were more planned, because she had known for a long time what to do if she ever won the Missouri Lottery. Warner frequently visits the Lottery’s Web site, Molottery.com, to find out exactly what "big winners" need to do to claim their prizes.
"I turned my little car around and headed back to Springfield," she added referring to her journey to the Springfield Lottery office.
The full-time Missouri State University student and mother of two said she has a list of things she plans to do with her windfall.
"I’ve been living about a month without a hot water heater at my home, because I haven’t had the money to fix it," she said. "Now, I can afford a new house."
Also on her to-do list is helping out "two of the most wonderful kids in the world," her sons.
"One has just bought a new pickup, and I’d like to help him pay that off," she noted. "My other son is an Iraq (war) vet, and he has an old beat-up pickup, and he needs a new one. So, I think mama is going to buy him a new pickup."
The professional writing major also hopes to have more time to devote to her favorite pastime, writing screenplays, now that she has a nest egg.
The woman, who once joked about her name being representative of her life and luck, is laughing all the way to the bank.
"Keep playing, because I tell you, I would’ve never ever thought I would, but I did win," she said.
Warner purchased the winning ticket at Kum and Go, 510 W. Republic Road in Springfield.
"Mega MONOPOLY™," a $10 game with a top prize of $2 million, has five top prizes, as well as thousands of $10 to $20,000 prizes, remaining in play.