Bonus Match 5 Winner Has Trouble Convincing Self of $50,000 Score

“Early Christmas” didn’t believe she had won $50,000 in the Maryland Lottery’s Bonus Match 5 game and neither did her relatives – at first.

A loyal Maryland Lottery player from East Baltimore didn’t believe it when she scanned a Bonus Match 5 ticket and found it was a $50,000 top prizewinner. Neither did anyone else she told – at first.

“I thought the machine wasn’t working!” said the winner, who is going by the name “Early Christmas.” She was checking her tickets at her favorite spot, Tobacco Stop #14 at 1727 Chesaco Avenue in Rosedale. After the scanner delivered its hard-to-believe message, the lucky player called the clerk over to ask her to check the ticket, too.

“She said, ‘You hit big, you’ve got to go the Lottery to cash this one!’ ” recalled “Early Christmas.” “My heart was beating fast! My hands were shaking!”

She called her brother and he didn’t believe her good news — at first. Then she called her son, who told her, “Ma, you are never going to hit.” When she reassured him that Lottery luck had come her way, her son also didn’t believe it. Next, she called her daughter and got the same reaction. Her family members are now believers and happy for her.

“This is a merry Christmas!” said the 47-year-old.

The seasoned player is such a regular at The Tobacco Stop that the store clerk always asks when she arrives if she wants to make her usual purchase. She always goes with quick-pick tickets and doesn’t always check her numbers right away. In the case of her top-prize Bonus Match 5 win, she was taking clothes to the dry cleaners on Dec. 19 and found unchecked tickets from a Dec. 10 purchase. In the group was the winning ticket for the Dec. 14 Bonus Match 5 drawing.

The state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services employee plans to pay bills with her prize, celebrate with a crab-cake dinner, put money into savings and “help out my children.” She also will keep playing the Lottery in hopes of another big score. “This is just the beginning!” she said.

For selling a top-prize winning Bonus Match 5 ticket, the Tobacco Stop also gets lucky. The Baltimore County retailer earns a $500 bonus from the Lottery, equal to 1 percent of the prize.