Gloria McKenzie became the largest single lottery winner in history when she won the Powerball lottery in May 2003. Despite the odds of 1 in 175 million, the eighty-four-year-old grandmother won the jackpot.
In the Publix Supermarket, Gloria was waiting to purchase her daily Powerball ticket, a quick-pick ticket with randomly generated numbers. Throughout her life, she has always purchased her tickets there and never chose her numbers herself.
In line, people ahead of her graciously allowed Gloria to slip ahead of them without considering the implications. In addition to her winning ticket, Gloria purchased four more Powerball tickets for a total investment of ten dollars.
It was Wednesday, May 19th, 2003, when the Powerball numbers were released. During that night, Gloria kept watching the results late into the night. The moment the numbers were drawn, she knew she had won before even looking at her ticket.
After receiving the news, she got in touch with lawyers and financial advisors. She asked them questions and filled out all the necessary paperwork. The prize wasn’t claimed by Gloria until June 5th as she wanted all preparations done in advance.
Her outfit for the visit to the Florida State lottery offices included a pink blouse, white pants, and black sunglasses to conceal her face. Despite being surrounded by reporters, Gloria gripped her son’s arm tightly, refusing to answer questions.
A lump-sum withdrawal was recommended for her due to her age. In total, nearly $371 million was earned, and after taxes, $278 million was earned.
During the time she claimed her prize, she shared the money with her son, Scott.
Gloria moved out of her apartment and acquired a home in Jacksonville, FL near her son for 1.2 million dollars. As a retired teacher, and In honour of her fondness for education, Gloria donated $2 million to Schneck High School in East Millinocket, Maine.
In 2019 she sued her son for hiring a financial advisor with no experience of managing this amount of money on account of high fees and little returns. In 2021 Gloria died prior to the case reaching a conclusion.