How Did Gloria Mackenzie of Zephyrhills, Florida Win The $590 Million Powerball Jackpot? [PHOTOS]

By Staff Reporter June 5, 2013 5:32 PM EDT
The $590 million jackpot winner, 84-year-old Gloria Mackenzie, bought her winning ticket after a kind stranger let her step ahead of him in line. (Photo: Reuters)
The $590 million jackpot winner, 84-year-old Gloria Mackenzie, bought her winning ticket after a kind stranger let her step ahead of him in line. (Photo: Reuters)

The $590 million Powerball jackpot may have just proved that no good deed goes unpunished. But it's all good -- at least for Gloria C. Mackenzie, the 84-year-old woman who bought the winning Quick Pick ticket after a kind stranger let her step ahead in line.

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That simple act of consideration made the elderly woman the largest sole Powerball jackpot winner in U.S. history. The $590 million jackpot winner kept a low profile for two weeks after the winning the jackpot, but has finally stepped forward to claim her prizes. The winner decided to receive the money in a lump-sum, which comes out to nearly $371 million before taxes.

Mackenzie's name was made public during a press conference Wednesday, as winners cannot remain anonymous under state law. The lucky lady declined to speak to reporters outside lottery headquarters, leaving with family members in a Ford Focus for what we imagine was a very happy car ride.

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In a statement read by a Florida Lottery representative, Mackenzie expressed her gratitude for her $590 million Powerball winnings. "We are grateful for this blessing of winning the Florida Lottery powerball jackpot and appreciate the interest of the public, state of Florida and the Lottery," the statement read. "We hope that everyone will give us an opportunity to maintain our privacy for our family's benefit."

After the $590 million jackpot was announced, the winner waited two weeks before coming forward to claim her winnings. (Photo: Reuters)
After the $590 million jackpot was announced, the winner waited two weeks before coming forward to claim her winnings. (Photo: Reuters)

Mackenzie had purchased four other tickets before handing over her two dollars for the one that would make her fortune. In the statement, Mackenzie revealed how close she came to missing out on the golden ticket.

"While in line at Publix," the elderly winner said, "another lottery player was kind enough to let me go ahead of them in line to purchase the winning Quick Pick ticket."

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Perhaps Mackenzie was getting some karmic payoff for her own gracious lottery behavior. Prior to the drawing, she agreed to split any proceeds with her son Scott Mackenzie. The Florida Lottery office was unable to state whether the 84-year-old is retired, or how she intends to spend her fortune.

The winner of the $590 million jackpot was spotted stopping by the Florida lottery office in Tallahassee with her son, a trusted family friend, and legal and financial advisors.

The buzz surrounding Mackenzie's jackpot is sure to echo for a good while in Zephyrills. Located about 30 miles northeast of Tampa, the town boasts a population of 13,337 and is best known for a brand of bottled spring water bearing its name. That could change now that Zephyrills is home to the winner of the largest Powerball jackpot ever to be awarded to one person.  

Now we'll just have to wait and see if that kind stranger reveals himself. It could turn into a local legend, with old men telling their grandchildren years from now of the jackpot that got away! 

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