Several weeks ago, all of Maryland and most of the rest of the nation was in a high state of consternation when a woman named Mirlande Wilson claimed to have a winning ticket in the 640 million dollar lottery, but then she said she left the ticket at the McDonald's where she worked and then she said she lost it and then a lot of people with whom she used to work said, Say what?
It seems that she never did have the winning ticket or anything like it. A few days into all this silliness, she called a press conference at the office of an attorney in Baltimore, the purpose of the meeting being to bring all the media together so that she could ask the media to leave her alone.
The media pretty much leaves me alone, except for the guy who sells subscriptions to the Sunpaper from a little kiosk at the Giant Food store. He never seems to want to take my word for it when I tell him I already get the paper delivered. If I don't look like a newspaper subscriber, well, who does? But my point is, no reporters chase after me, nor do camera crews camp out on my lawn waiting for me to make an early morning appearance. That's because I don't call the New York POST and claim to have won a lottery that I didn't win.
So Ms Wilson fades back into the oblivion of obscurity, soon to inherit that nether region between yesterday's news and the inevitable "where are they now?" story in a couple of years.
In the meantime, the real winners came forward, and it turns out that they were chortling all along at Ms Wilson, since they had the winning ducat all along.
Matter of fact, the money will be split among three Maryland educators (who have requested anonymity). Each of them will wind up stashing 35 million post-tax dollars in their bank accounts. The trio, two women and a man calling themselves "The Three Amigos" are a
special education teacher, an elementary school teacher and a school
administrator who all worked multiple jobs to cover their bills.
A spokesperson for the Maryland Lottery said they
buy new homes, travel to Europe and help their own children pay for
college, but they couldn't stand to leave their schools. "They were so clearly committed to their kids," he said of the teachers. "They both said, 'Yes, I can't give up my kids.'"
One lottery, and so many different stories. The woman who claimed to win never returned to her job at McDonald's and was, in fact, barred from the restaurant when she showed up (media in tow!) to "search for the winning ticket inside." She never had the winner any more than you or I did. Meanwhile, the three who did pool their money and happen to buy the winning ticket met with advisors and financial planners before showing up at the lottery offices. And they said they are keeping their jobs.
It's interesting to think what we all would have done. I don't think I know anyone who would claim to have the winner while not having it, but I wonder how many of us love our jobs so much that 35 million bucks wouldn't be enough to make us leave them.