POMONA (CBSLA.com) — The California winner of the Powerball jackpot is still a mystery as reports surfaced late Thursday that the Pomona nurse who thought she had won may have been pranked.
The New York Daily News first reported that an employee, described as a mother of seven, who works at the Park Avenue Healthcare & Wellness Center, was celebrating with coworkers Wednesday night believing that she had won.
David Levy, the facility manager, said he had not seen the ticket, but was told by some of the nurses that they had.
The woman was reportedly at work when she heard from her son that she had won. According to the New York Daily News, the son even sent the nurse a picture of the ticket. Late Thursday, however, the publication reported that the son had been joking.
Levy said he was trying to get in touch with the family to verify whether it had been a prank.
“If it is true that this is a joke, I don’t think it’s very funny,” he said. “I would feel terrible. She’s the sweetest person. That would really be a terrible joke.”
He said the alleged winner didn’t come to work Thursday. Another employee told CBS2 the last he’d heard she had won.
“Everybody was happy for her because she’s a nurse. She’s a good person. Everybody was happy,” the employee said.
Levy said he spoke to the healthcare facility’s owner, Shlomo Rechnitz, who bought the Powerball tickets for his employees and patients.
“I actually spoke to Shlomo who actually bought all these tickets and he says, ‘My gosh, if the son played a joke, I want you to let her know that I would probably be willing to send her on a vacation, all-paid vacation somewhere because it’s not a nice joke,’ ” Levy added.
The woman’s daughter told the Los Angeles Times this was a misunderstanding based on a picture sent to her mother. She told the publication the family was a little embarrassed.
A winner has yet to come forward to claim the prize.
The winning ticket was one of three sold nationwide. It was purchased at a 7-Eleven store at 4092 Chino Hills Parkway in Chino Hills and matched all six numbers. On Thursday, The California Lottery presented the owner of the convenience store with a $1 million check.
“This is crazy. It’s so surreal,” said Sabrina Atwal, the daughter of the owner of the 7-Eleven where the winning ticket was sold. “I don’t know. I’m just really excited for them. I’m excited for the winners.”
Crowds late Wednesday packed the parking lot, proud the winning ticket was sold in Chino Hills. Since the news broke, more patrons have come forward to purchase tickets at the store, confident lightning will strike twice.
Two other jackpot winning tickets were sold in Florida and Tennessee. The prize is expected to be split.
What would you do if your child made you believe you had won the lottery when you hadn’t? Share your comments in the section below!