Brenda Smith of Paris said she stops for a Missouri Lottery Scratchers ticket just about every morning on the way home from work. The LPN works at Monroe Manor, and she said all of the local store clerks know her by name. She stopped at Hickman’s IGA, 620 S. Main St. in Paris, on the morning of April 1 and purchased a “Santa Paws” Scratchers ticket that was worth $25,000.
“My son was off, and I told him, ‘Tomorrow, we’re going to go to the casino,’” she began. “When I got home, I said, ‘Scratch the casino, we have to go to Jeff City.’ He thought I was joking. He thought I was pulling an April Fools’ joke on him until I handed him a copy of the ticket.”
Adding to the mystery is the fact that the holiday-themed “Santa Paws” ticket is no longer being distributed, and in fact, has been pulled from most store shelves around the state. Smith located the final top prize in the game. Her husband attributes it to her luck.
“His exact words were, ‘You could fall in the river and come out with a pocket full of gold nuggets.’ He thinks I’m really lucky,” she concluded. “He’ll give me money every now and then and tell me to go buy tickets.”
Plans for the windfall include paying bills. Smith said she wanted to pay off the note on her car, and then maybe take a trip with her son, Jeff, to the Native American store in Hannibal. The two like to attend “pow-wows” whenever possible and indicated that they would love to make a trip to New Mexico sometime for one of the larger Native American events.
Smith recalled how she got the winning ticket. She started with one of the new “Lucky 7s Playbook” Scratchers tickets and won $20. Thinking she needed the cash, she realized she had two $1 bills in her pocket and used them to purchase the “Santa Paws” ticket.
“I went out to my car and scratched it; kept coming up with these big numbers,” she stated. “I went back in, handed the card to Mary and said, ‘Mary, either someone is playing an April Fools’ joke on me, my eyes are bad, or something.’”
It was no joke.
“Thank you, Lord!” she exclaimed.
Smith said she’ll keep playing the Lottery and counseled others to “just keep at it.”
“Santa Paws” is a $2 ticket that officially began Oct. 21, 2013. The “Lucky 7s Playbook” is a new Scratchers product that just began this week. The ticket costs $20 and features six different games.