"It was a sign": Boeing employee wins $747M Powerball

Mar 7 2023, 3:43 pm

Becky Bell was grocery shopping with her daughter when she made a decision to buy what ended up being a life-changing lottery ticket.

A resident of Auburn, Washington, Bell has been working as a supply chain analyst for The Boeing Company for the past 36 years. So when she glanced over at the lottery vending machine display at her local Fred Meyer supermarket, she paused; the estimated Powerball prize was US$747 million (CND$1,024,263,990).

“That’s when it hit me… I had to buy one more ticket,” she said. And it was especially meaningful for Bell since Boeing had just delivered its last 747 jet six days prior.

The next day, she recalls working from home and getting ready for a 6:20 am meeting when she checked the news and saw that someone had won in the February 6 draw. And the winning ticket had been sold in Auburn.

Auburn, Washington (@exploreauburnwa/Instagram)

“[I] thought, ‘That could be me,'” said Bell. “After my meeting, I scanned my first ticket and it wasn’t a winner. Then I scanned the second ticket and it said ‘Winning ticket. Claim at Lottery Office.’ So, I knew I had won at least US$600, which was pretty exciting.”

But it wasn’t until she scanned her ticket with the WA Lottery app that she realized that she had won way more than just US$600 — she was the winner of the fifth-largest Powerball prize, which by then had grown to US$754,550,826 (CND$1,034,617,456).

“I’ve never won more than $20 in my life,” said Bell. “So you can imagine my shock when I realized what had just happened. I just broke down and cried.”

But she had to be sure, so she woke up her son and daughter to ask them to double-check check, and then triple-check, her ticket. She immediately texted a picture of her ticket to her sisters and her mom.

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“The funny thing was my mom misheard me when I told her how much I won,” Bell recalled. “She said ‘Seven million… that’s great, honey. Everyone can have a million.’ Then I had to say, ‘No, mom, seven HUNDRED million dollars. Pretty soon, everyone was crying.”

While at the Lottery Headquarters in Olympia to claim her prize, Bell said she plans to use the money to help her family. She had already planned to retire in June and was training people to take over her job. Now, she’ll be retiring in March but added that she doesn’t want to “leave the new employees in a lurch.”

“I told you it was a sign,” said Bell, laughing.

Before taxes, Bell would have had to choose between an annuitized prize of US$754,550,826 or a cash payment of US$407.2 million (CND$546,871,846).

According to Powerball, the odds of winning a prize are one in 24.9, and the odds of winning the jackpot are one in 292.2 million.

Irish Mae SilvestreIrish Mae Silvestre

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