As she scanned a handful of Scratchers tickets and draw game receipts on July 31, it wasn’t looking good for Denice Harvey – literally.
“I’m blind, I can barely see,” the Manteca resident said half-jokingly with a laugh. “I was scanning my (tickets) and I kept seeing, ‘Sorry not a winner.’ But then I got to my (Powerball) ticket (from the July 30 draw) . . .
Harvey could tell the wording on the Check-A-Ticket screen for that Powerball ticket looked different than the others. So she asked a clerk at the convenience store in Oakdale where she stopped for a cup of coffee to please have a look.
“I was telling him that I think I won a dollar. So he (scanned it) and his eyes got humongous!” Harvey said. “He came around (the counter]) and picked me up and hugged me and said I won $785,000.”
Evidently Harvey’s ears aren’t quite as good as they used to be either.
“I thought he said I won $785,” she said. “Hey, I was (still) happy but he said, ‘No! $785,000!’ My legs went limp and here I am. I can’t even win a bar of soap at a freaking baby shower,” the 58-year-old mother of eight said with a laugh.
During an overnight trip to Capitola with family in late July, Harvey bought three Powerball Quick Pick lines for the July 30 draw. One of them ended up matching five of the six numbers (11-17-21-23-32), missing only the Powerball number 5. Just like that, Harvey won $785,065 before federal taxes. She split the 5/5 prize amount of $2,355,195 with two other California players who bought winning tickets in Long Beach and Sunnyvale.
Had Harvey matched Powerball number 5 (she had Powerball number 10), she would have split an enormous $487 million jackpot with what turned out to be a sole winner in New Hampshire. But Harvey is not the least bit disappointed.
“I would have been fine with $785, okay?” she said. “I would have been dancing. I’m so grateful. This is God-sent. I’m telling you.”
This prize money truly couldn’t be coming at a better time. Harvey says not only did her husband pass away recently – she also ended up losing her car and her home. She said she tried working three jobs to try to save her house, but it was too overwhelming; so she’s been living with family and friends.
“I don’t feel like I really belong anywhere right now. I just started going back to church because I’ve been lost.” Harvey explained.
In fact, she went to church the day after she found out she won.
“It was weird…the sermon was all about greediness, like it was a sign to me —because I don’t want to change. Everyone tells me nobody deserves to win more than me. But I want to remain the same humble person.”
As for what Harvey intends to do with her prize money, that’s easy. There’s only one item on her checklist.
“I’m going to be able to buy a little house,” she said. . . . nothing fancy. All I care about is having a place for my children and grandchildren to come see me.”