For years, Debra Opper has bought the same lottery tickets each Monday: five $2 multi-match tickets from Monday and Thursday, a $5 Mega Millions ticket for Tuesday and Friday and a $10 Powerball ticket for Wednesday and Saturday.
About four years ago, she won $10,000, but never dreamed of a six-figure prize. Last Tuesday, she won $250,000 in the Mega Millions.
“Never did I ever imagine that was going to be me. Now I’m even still sitting here at the lottery office waiting for them to say, ‘Haha, it’s a joke. Nevermind,’” Opper said on Friday, when she claimed her prize at Maryland Lottery headquarters in Baltimore. “I still have goose bumps.”
Opper was in One Stop in Reisterstown last Thursday, where she buys her lottery tickets, when an employee told her his store sold an unclaimed $250,000 ticket, and he thought it was her’s. Although, she was skeptical at first, he was able to confirm it for her at the store.
Opper, who runs a computer health desk at the Social Security Administration, married her husband, Hassan Manafikhalesi, on December 1, and the two never took a proper honeymoon.
“We’re thinking a cruise, maybe around the Hawaiian islands or Puerto Rico,” Opper said.
In addition to a honeymoon, the winnings will help her husband purchase a taxi passenger vehicle license in Montgomery County so he can own his own cab. Opper also plans to help her 26-year-old twin daughters with car payments. One of them just bought a new car and the other one needs to buy one.
While Opper did purchase the winning ticket herself, she thinks she may have had a little bit of help.
“My mother and I always played this same series of lottery tickets,” Opper said. “She passed away on November 26, and then a month later, here I’m buying our lottery tickets on Christmas Eve, and low and behold, that was the set that won.”