2011-02-15 14:35:32.333

Dream Come True: Couple Will Take Honeymoon After 25 Years of Marriage

Story Photo audio icon A House Springs couple might not be newlyweds anymore, but they are about to take the honeymoon they never had after they said their vows nearly a quarter of a century ago. Kathy McNeely, 50, purchased a “Missouri Lottery’s 25th Anniversary Cruise” Scratchers game “kind of hoping to win some money.” What she ended up winning was a luxury cruise vacation, which she described as “a once in a lifetime thing” that she never imagined would happen.

“I usually don’t buy a lot of scratch-offs,” she revealed, referring to her decision to purchase the Scratchers game at Fast Lane, 8299 Highway 47, in St. Clair.

Unaware that she had won an instant cruise vacation, she admitted that she “folded it (ticket) up and put it in my pocket.”

While on a break at Schnucks Market in Ballwin, the deli department employee asked a clerk to scan her ticket. 

“I said, ‘Will you swipe this and tell me what it’s all about?’” she recalled.

As soon as the ticket popped up as “do not pay,” the clerk informed McNeely that she had won a cruise.

“I said, ‘I did not!’” she exclaimed.

In a state of disbelief, the mother-of-three showed the ticket to her store manager hoping for clarification.

“He said, ‘What I want you to do right now is print your name, and then sign it, and make copies, and then put it in a really safe place until you get home,’” she said. “I called my husband (Mike), and he’s like, ‘Oh, yeah right. I’m not going to believe it until I see it.’”

McNeely added that she has been on “cloud nine ever since” news of the win.      

“We’ll be married 25 years this April 12, and then it’s the Lottery’s 25th anniversary thing!” she shared. “And, we never had a honeymoon. We don’t go on vacation a lot.”

When she claimed the prize at the Lottery’s St. Louis regional office on Valentine’s Day, she joked that her husband “better bring me flowers today,” or she might consider taking someone else on the cruise. With a laugh, she said that her 23-year-old son is already vying for a seat on the boat.

In addition to this being the couple’s first honeymoon, it will also be the first time McNeely has ever flown on an airplane or applied for a passport. She added that she already has thought about where she’d like to go.

“We’ll go to St. Thomas!” she declared.

She summed up the entire experience by saying she is “pretty gosh darn happy!”

"Missouri Lottery’s 25th Anniversary Cruise," a $5 game with top prizes of $75,000 and instant cruise vacations, officially began on Jan. 22.

Instant cruise prize winners will receive a seven-night Caribbean cruise vacation for two aboard a Royal Caribbean International® ship in an oceanview balcony stateroom, first-class airfare, deluxe hotel accommodations the night prior to the cruise departure date, ground transportation to and from the ship, a luggage set, $1,000 onboard spending credit and $500 cash.

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