LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — It was a normal afternoon for a 26-year-old woman, until she realized she had a winning California lottery ticket.
According to the California Lottery, on Dec. 16, 2014, Ligia Dennis was waiting for a load of clothes to finish washing at a local Laundromat, when she decided to walk down the street and buy a coffee.
While inside Big Jim’s Donuts, located in the 700 block of North Vermont Avenue in East Hollywood, Dennis also purchased three $6 California Lucky Life Scratchers tickets.
Officials explained she decided to give two of the tickets to her brother and mother, and kept the third ticket for herself.
Dennis’ fiancé, Tim Ballany, explained a homeless man asked her for change. In response, Dennis almost gave away her ticket, but decided at the last second to keep it.
Once Dennis took the time to play her scratcher, she realized she had a winning ticket!
“When I saw LIFE, the winning symbol, I went crazy for a minute,” Dennis explained. “It didn’t really process.”
She thought she had won $1,000.
The day after Christmas, Dennis traveled to the California Lottery Van Nuys District Office, where she was told she actually won $1,000 per week for 25 years.
In total, her winnings added up to $1.3 million.
“It’s true, I’m shocked,” exclaimed Dennis. “I can’t believe it.”
Dennis is currently employed as a hair dresser in Los Angeles, and attends Santa Monica College for business management.
She explained she plans to pay off her student loans, catch up on bills and hopefully open her own salon with her winning funds.
“It’s always been my passion,” said Dennis. “I’ve been a hairdresser for about six years. It’s always been my dream to own my own salon.”
Officials reported that Dennis has made plans to meet with a financial adviser before deciding to take the $1.3 million spread out over 25 years, or a lump sum of $750,000 before federal taxes.
Big Jim’s Donuts will receive a bonus of $6,500 for selling the winning ticket, lottery officials explained.