Millennium Millionaire

Short-order cook wins "millennium millions" record breaking jackpot

(Everything 2000) How about $100 million to start off the New Year? What a way to begin the century! A 66-year old New York man went from being a short-order cook at the end of 1999 to a retired millionaire in the year 2000.

New York's Millennium Millions jackpot was the richest in the city's history. The big drawing attracted millions and the numbers were called on New Year's Eve. After a day or two nobody stepped forward to claim the money. That's when South Brox resident Johnie Ely decided he better check his tickets again.

Ely looked at the numbers, as any of us would do, but didn't believe his aging eyes. He thought he read the winning numbers but wasn't sure. He then passed his tickets to his son Johnie Jr. to read. Junior thought they looked like the winning numbers, but then passed them to his mother to make sure.

Rosemary Ely, a nurse, ''put on her glasses, looked the numbers over and said, 'Sweetie, can I retire now?' '' Mr. Ely told the Ottawa citizen.

''You can retire,'' he told her.

''Can I get a used car?'' his son asked.

''Yes, you can,'' Ely answered.

Ely won the millions but didn't know he was a millionaire until a few days later when he finally checked his ticket. Ely worked as a short-order cook at the Java Shop in Manhattan. He went to work the next day and told his boss about his winnings. His boss, Winston Willer, told him to go home and stay home.

Ely did just that! Ely opted for the lump-sum payment of $44 million. After taxes he'll get about $27 million. Enough to retire himself, his wife and have money left over.

''It's cool, real cool to be able to do all the things you've always dreamed about doing,'' Ely told the media at a press conference. ''But it's the kind of thing that now that you've got it, you freeze.''

Ely does know he will take care of his son and two grown daughters and the rest of his extended family. Ely plans to put several nieces and nephews through college. As for himself, he quit his job but doesn't really know what he is going to do next. It's just too early to make those kinds of decisions.

''I don't need nothing. As long as I keep the good health I've had through the years, what else does a man really need?''

Then, flashing a broad smile, he said, ''I mean, I'm a millionaire, right? That's what this is all about, brother. I am a millionaire!''

What a way to start the New Year, the new century, the Year 2000!

(Source: the Ottawa Citizen)

DATE: 1/10/2000

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