New York Post
The owner of a chain of California nursing homes purchased 18,000 Powerball tickets for his employees and patients — and one of his senior nurses hit the jackpot, managers for her facility said on Thursday.
A registered nurse at Park Avenue Healthcare & Wellness Centre, in Pomona, discovered shortly after the drawing that she held a winning ticket — and will split the $1.5 billion prize with victors in Tennessee and Florida, the managers said.
Her winning tickets was purchased in Chino Hills, a short drive from where the nurse works night shifts.
The numbers were drawn at 7:59 p.m. on the West Coast and workers and patients at Park Avenue gathered around TVs to see the big draw – holding tickets purchased for them by chain owner Shlomo Rechnitz.
The winner, however, wasn’t watching. She only had a clue that she might have won 30 minutes later when her kids called, telling her to check her ticket.
“Her reaction was that she didn’t believe it. She then pulled out her ticket and reviewed it with two other nurses — number by number,” said David Levy, senior manager for the center. “And then she freaked out.”
Levy described the winner as a 62-year-old married mom of seven kids — six of them nurses themselves.
Despite the life-changing win, she finished her shift and didn’t go home until 11:30 p.m., according to Levy.
“Oh my gosh it couldn’t have happened to a better person,” Levy said. “There’s no sweeter person, she’s the first person you see (when entering the nursing home).”
The Pomona facility received 600 tickets — one line of numbers on each ticket — via FedEx on Wednesday morning and staffers spent much of the day passing them out to workers and clients.
Chain owner Rechnitz is prone to acts of random, eccentric kindness, Levy said.
Rechnitz ran into 400 US servicemen in the airport in Shannon, Ireland, this past November and handed each one of them $50 to buy themselves a warm meal, People magazine reported.
“Schlomo’s one of those guys where any opportunity he gets to affect someone’s life, he’s all over it,” Levy said.
When contacted by the Los Angeles Times, the woman’s daughter claimed that her mother did not win the jackpot and the celebration was due to a “misunderstanding” of a photo sent to the nurse.
But a spokesman for Park Avenue Healthcare & Wellness Centre, Josh Nass, told The Post that the winning ticket was not a hoax and the nurse’s entire family had arrived at the center after her shift to congratulate her.