A routine trip to Oneonta turned into a million-dollar outing for a Garrattsville resident.
On July 17, Doris Hoag won the top prize in the $1,000,000 Cash Bingo scratch-off game at the Mirabito convenience store at 4968 State Route 23. On Thursday, she received an oversized check from state Lottery personality Yolanda Vega at the store. Because the presentation came the day after her 85th birthday, the check came gift-wrapped.
The purchase was a regular part of her day, Hoag said at the media conference. She drives to Oneonta daily for breakfast at Denny's and walks across the street to purchase her lottery tickets. She bought three $10 chances that day. The second was the winner. The other she later gave away.
"I didn't need it anymore," she said. The odds of winning the top prize is 1 in 2 million, according to the Lottery website.
"It must be a mistake," was her first thought upon seeing the winning number. She showed it to longtime store employee Pamela Kelsey from Otego, and they brought it to store manager Torrey Mattice, who confirmed it was a winner.
"I couldn't think -- I was numb," Hoag said.
She drove to the Lottery's customer service center in Schenectady that day to claim her prize. It is paid in a single lump sum payment, which after withholding taxes totals $661,800, Vega said.
Hoag said she has family in the area, but she did not elaborate.
She had friends before, but "I have a lot more now," she said.
She was light-hearted when asked if anyone has asked her for a loan, saying: "My nephew asked me if he could borrow a quarter." Two of her sisters, Kitty Wilcox and Eleanor Brigham, both of Garrattsville, were at the event. They said that Hoag is one of four sisters -- the other does not live in the area.
Brigham said the winnings won't change her sister because "she is not a frivolous person." The only thing she may want is for her nephew to put a porch on her trailer, Brigham said.
Hoag said she drives a 2000 Ford and has not made plans to purchase anything newer. She has an accountant and other professionals to help her manage her winnings.
"I feel a little nervous" she said. "It's more like a dream."
She is maintaining her daily rituals including breakfast and scratch-offs.
"I love the lottery a lot more now," she said. After the interview she said she was taking those who accompanied her to Denny's to celebrate.
Mattice said that this was the first time anything like this has happened in the store. The closest was a $500 winner several months ago. The store does not receive anything extra from selling a winning ticket, but the publicity creates excitement, which means increased Lottery sales.
"It couldn't have happened to a nicer customer," he said. "She is a down-to-earth person."