Jan 14, 2014, 11:53 am
Mary Eisenband finds it fun to buy lottery tickets.
The 82-year-old Union, New Jersey, woman never found it more enjoyable than when she bought a scratch-off lottery ticket in North Carolina in November while en route to Georgia to visit family.
Eisenband turned out to be the lucky winner of that state's "$500 a Week for Life" game, North Carolina lottery officials announced Monday.
Eisenband took home a check for $244,968 after state and federal taxes were withheld because she chose the lump sum payout. Eisenband could have either collected a prize worth $26,000 a year for life or a one-time pre-tax amount of $354,000, lottery officials said.
"This is more money than I have ever seen in my entire life," Eisenband told lottery officials Monday when she claimed her winnings. "I play the lottery these days because it's fun for me. I play everywhere I go and I enjoy it. To win like this feels so wonderful. I still don't believe it."
Eisenband told lottery officials she immigrated to New Jersey from Poland in 1963 and opened a sandwich shop.
She plans to use her windfall to take a vacation. "I might go to Florida and stay in a fancy hotel, " she said. "And the rest I'll share with my family and put in the bank."
The ticket was purchased at Pilot Travel Center on state route 48 in Pleasant Hill, N.C, just off Interstate 95.
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