COLUMBIA — When Antoinett Ivicsics scratched off a lottery ticket revealing a $3 million prize, she did a victory dance in her pajamas to celebrate.
"She turned on the car, turned on the radio, and we just danced in the parking lot," said Eric Steffenson, the Petro Mart clerk who sold her the winning ticket.
Ivicsics, 49, of Columbia, bought the winning Missouri Lottery's "$3,000,000 Taxes Paid" Scratchers game in the early hours of Dec. 2. On Wednesday afternoon, she was presented with a ceremonial check at the Petro Mart, where she told the story of her win to lottery and media representatives.
A regular lottery player, Ivicsics frequents the store to buy Scratchers, and she also regularly checks the Missouri Lottery website to find out what prizes are left.
After seeing online there was a $3 million dollar ticket left on Dec. 2, she decided to make a trip to the convenience store about 1:30 a.m. That was where she found out she would take home the prize. Ivicsics won the second of two top prizes in the Missouri Lottery's "$3,000,000 Taxes Paid" Scratchers game, according to a release from the Missouri Lottery.
"She hugged me and kissed me and said, 'I just won $3 million,'" said Heather Crawford, another Petro Mart clerk.
Ivicsics has been a cook at the Women's and Children's Hospital for nine years, and she said that despite her large prize, she has no plans of leaving her job.
"I get so much pleasure taking care of other people, and I have no plans of quitting something I love," Ivicsics said.
Although the winnings make her a multimillionaire, Ivicsics isn't quite sure what she wants to spend the money on yet.
"It's a lot of money that has been dropped in my lap, and I don't know what I want to do with it yet," she said. "But I'm probably going to do a lot of investing."
A week and a half later, Ivicsics said she is still in shock from the whirlwind of winning.
"I really do feel blessed," she said. "Who gets up at 1 o'clock in the morning, thinks about winning $3 million and then wins it? I'm just still in disbelief."
Supervising editor is Allie Hinga.