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Chicago man credits mom with $2.5 million lottery win

May 9, 2014, 4:21 pm

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Illinois Lottery

A Chicago man is planning a special Mother's Day for his mom after she bought a lottery ticket for him that wound up being worth $2.5 million.

Daniel Stojak, 46, of Chicago, said his mother, Shirley, 77, also of Chicago, frequently buys him tickets at the Jewel-Osco in Niles where she has worked as a cashier for about 15 years.

Though Shirley Stojak had won some money before playing the lottery — the most was $10,000 — this April 1 was special.

That day, she bought a $10 instant ticket and scratched it off to reveal her son had won $2.5 million.

"The whole body started to go," she said at a news conference Thursday, where lottery officials presented her and her son with a ceremonial oversized check. "I couldn't stop shaking. I always dreamed it could happen, but I never thought it would happen to me."

Stojak called her son, who was coming to pick her up at work, to give him the news.

Daniel Stojak said that at first, he thought she was playing an April Fools' Day joke on him. Once it sank in, he said, he also was unnerved.

"I was a little shocked," he said. "I didn't sleep for a few days."

Daniel Stojak, a project manager for a home restoration company in Lincolnwood, said his plans for the money include going on vacation, doing some home repair and maybe getting a new car.

And, of course, planning a Mother's Day to remember.

"She's making a list, I'm sure," he said.

Daniel Stojak said he originally planned to take his mom to a riverboat to gamble. That's still on the Mother's Day agenda, though the day now also will include dinner and a trip to the jewelry store for a diamond tennis bracelet and possibly a ring.

"Anything I want," she said.

He chose the cash option of $1.5 million, which is before taxes are withheld. The Jewel-Osco store got a $25,000 bonus for selling the ticket.

Daniel Stojak said he offered to pay for his mom to retire.

"I told her she could quit working," he said, but "I don't think she wants to."

With news of her apparent luck spreading, Shirley Stojak said, now everyone wants her to buy tickets for them.

"They come up and rub me," she joked. "They say, 'I need your luck.'"

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