A Fort McMurray couple has literally hit the jackpot back home in Newfoundland.
Bill and Carrie Pendergast are $1 million richer after buying a winning LOTTO 6/49 ticket.
Bill traveled back home to St. John’s in January to visit his dad and had planned to head back to Fort McMurray at the end of the month. He ended up extending his stay after his dad was taken to the hospital.
Just a few days later, Bill went to the hospital to bring his dad a ‘cold 7 Up’ and decided to buy a lottery ticket on his way back home. Two days later, he found out the ticket was sold in the area, went back to the convenient store, and realized he just won.
Bill tells Mix News he’s still in shock.
“I had the winning numbers come up on my phone, I checked them against my ticket, and couldn’t believe what I was seeing – I had to bring my phone out to my aunt and uncle to get them to recheck it to make sure what I was seeing was actually true.”
Carrie, who was working in Fort McMurray at the time, received a text just a few moments later.
“He sent me a copy of the ticket in a text and I looked at it and I didn’t believe it because he’s quite the prankster and he had to send another picture of him holding the ticket, because he has a scar on his hand, showing his scar so I could compare the serial numbers.”
The two lost their home during the Horse River Wildfire. They started rebuilding over seven months ago and are still waiting to get their framework inspected. They’re hoping now they can be back home in two to four months.
Bill says a big chunk of the money will go towards the home and the rest will be for spoiling the family.
“We have five boys, so taking all those guys on a trip down south is high on the list.”
With a grandchild on the way, they’re also looking to be responsible grandparents and put aside some money for education.
Bill notes the money will also help him start his early retirement.
Meanwhile, the Pendergast’s aren’t the only recent Fort McMurray lottery winners.
The week prior, David Head also won $1 million after he also bought a winning LOTTO 6/49 ticket in Newfoundland.
Just like Bill Pendergast, Head and his wife Darlene missed their flight after it was canceled due to a heavy storm.
“Darlene and I had a snow day and we lay in bed talking about, among other things, the unclaimed $1 million ticket sold. It was later that morning while I was packing my suitcase that Darlene reminded me that I still had those unchecked tickets in the truck.”
Head says he went back to the store where he bought the ticket and the rest became a big blur.
“And then (the clerk) said, ‘Something’s going on here Dave. It says you’ve won big.’ It was all pretty emotional after that,” he added.
He works in Fort McMurray for six to eight months every year. Hitting the jackpot means he’s one step closer to hitting retirement and calling Gander Bay, Newfoundland his permanent home.