17, 18, 24, 25, 31. Judy Finchum played that number for 30 years. 10,950 days. And on Sunday, persistence proved to be very lucrative for the 67-year-old Colorado woman.
Judy purchased a winning Advance Play ticket in the town of Grand Junction at a store called Lucky Me, and woke up on her dog’s birthday to see that she had all five out of the winning numbers, including the Powerball. Her haul: $133.2 million.
After seeing the numbers on her phone, Judy ran into her bedroom to wake up her husband. He was calmer than a BYU frat party. Judy told ABC:
“We stumbled down the hallway together and I said, ‘Now look at these numbers and look at the numbers on the ticket and are those the same?'” Finchum recalled. “My husband was Mr. calm and says, ‘Yes they are.'”
The specific numbers Judy picked for three decades were because they are the birthdays of her loved ones. Number 17 for her late brother, her own birth date, 18, 24 for her sister Star, 25 for her ex-husband’s and 31 for her daughter. The fact that she stayed with her ex-husband’s birthday and didn’t switch out for her new husband’s birthday shows an unprecedented commitment.
As you may guess, Judy claims she is quitting her job immediately, “as of about 6 o’clock on Sunday morning,” and plans to donate a chunk of the money to hurricane victims.
“It’s going to bless the men and women and the people ravaged by the hurricanes,” her husband said.
Judy said she will opt for a cash lump sum payment rather than annual payments, which means she will receive $84,607,397 after taxes.
Good for her. Really, really happy for her.
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