A nurse in Durham, North Carolina, got the surprise of her life last week when she won the state’s Education Lottery.
Terri Watkins thought someone was playing a trick on her when she got the call about her winnings, ABC 7 reported Monday.
“I thought that it was a scam. I was a little upset actually,” she recalled, laughing about it. “I thought that it was not real, couldn’t be real. It’s still something that I really don’t believe, I’m still in some shock here.”
Her entry was chosen out of more than 513,000 entries during the final $300,000,000 Supreme Riches second-chance drawing that took place Wednesday.
“Winners of second-chance drawings receive a phone call or email notifying them that they won,” the lottery’s website said.
When the organization’s Garcelle Vierra dialed Watkins’ number and informed her about the prize, it took the nurse a moment to process the information:
“So Terri, I have some very exciting news to share with you,” Vierra said. “You have won $1 million in our Supreme Riches second-chance drawing!”
“You’re telling a story! I don’t believe you,” Watkins replied.
“No, ma’am. I promise it is true,” Vierra assured her.
The nurse claimed her prize money at the lottery’s headquarters in Raleigh on Thursday, according to the organization’s website.
“She had the option to take the $1 million prize as an annuity of 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a lump sum of $600,000. She chose the lump sum and took home $424,500 after required state and federal tax withholdings,” the site read.
Watkins said she works in the COVID unit at a long-term care facility where she has seen some difficult things. However, she is grateful for the prize money.
“I had been praying for something to help me with this situation. It really is a great thing. I’m very blessed,” she noted, adding that she will take her time deciding what to do with her winnings.
“I would love a new home, but I’ve just got to take time and put it in the right place,” the nurse concluded.