A “tight-knit” family from Lévis, on the south shore across from Quebec City discovered on Wednesday they were $70 million richer, after winning the biggest jackpot in the province’s history.
Gregory Mathieu along with seven family members recounted their reactions and received the fat cheque from Loto-Quebec on Friday morning.
Mathieu, 22, was finishing his shift as a bagger at a Lévis IGA grocery story when he decided to verify his lottery ticket.
“I purchased the lottery ticket on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 9:35 at night, 20 minutes before the closure,” said Mathieu.
“I wasn’t thinking much about it; I thought it would just be a participation. When I saw the ticket I was in a state of shock.”
As the machine went off with the sounds of a winning ticket, Mathieu immediately asked the cashier to confirm what he was seeing.
The cashier confirmed: he had the winning ticket.
The first person he called was his mother Sandra Julien, who didn’t believe her son at first.
“I said, ‘Gregory, your father and I don’t have funds to miss work for a bad joke, pass me to someone to confirm that what you’re telling me is true,'” said Julien.
“His coworker said it was true and I asked Gregory to send me a picture of the confirmation — and then after that I’m missing a few pieces.”
Mathieu said during the press conference on Friday the whole store congratulated him.
“I shook practically everyone’s hand in the place, they were touching me a lot for luck,” Mathieu said, laughing.
The Mathieu-Julien family chose a randomly-generated ticket, also known as a “quick pick”, but turns out the winning numbers have a deep significance.
“Gregory purchased the ticket the 25th and it was our eldest sister’s birthday, who happens to be Gregory’s godmother. Our sister committed suicide 10 years ago,” said Julien.
The winning ticket included the number 10.
“My mother used to always say, ‘One day we’re going to win the lottery!’ and she would buy tickets religiously,” said Julien.
“On her deathbed she said, “Girls, I will find a way to come back to see you,” she said, choking up. “And she found a way.”
Mathieu said he earns $12.55 an hour and was constantly worrying about how he could afford moving into an apartment.
The family kept reiterating that they’re a united family filled with love. “We will never, ever change,” said Julien.
“And we are good people!” the family chanted in unison.
Despite the fact that his monetary worries are out the window, Mathieu insisted money can’t buy happiness.
“My family are the most important people in my life and nothing will come between us.”
Mathieu said he isn’t sure he’ll be returning to work as a bagger at IGA because many people would recognize him.
Some family members said the big win won’t stop them from trying their luck again.
“Keep buying tickets!” one of the sisters yelled out. “I purchased mine yesterday, I’ve been buying lottery tickets with my husband for over 26 years and we’ve always used the same numbers.
“I know them by heart; I won’t stop now!”