Thuan Le, mother of four boys, plans to use her winnings to buy a house, travel, and visit her parents in Vietnam with her $14 million lottery winnings.
Credit: Kevork Djansezian

A Californian grandmother, who was struggling to pay her electricity bill, became a millionaire overnight after finding a long forgotten lottery ticket in her car.

Lottery officials had been looking for the mystery ticket holder and last week released a photograph of the woman who bought the winning ticket from a liquor store in Palmdale, AP reported.

Friends and family members of Julie Cervera, 69, alerted her and she recovered the winning ticket, which was in the glove compartment of her daughter’s car in Victorville, California. It was due to expire in a few weeks, which means she only just made the deadline to claim the cash.

"I've got like 200 tickets laying around my house. I never check my tickets," she said.

Cervera, a widow who has lived on a disability pension for the past 20 years, explained that in May she was driving home with her daughter when they stopped to get water.

Cervera asked her daughter to also buy her a lottery ticket, which she reluctantly did. 

She said she would use the money to help her children, including two adopted children who have developmental problems, and grandchildren. 

"I'm just so happy. I'm going to buy me a pair of Reeboks," the Daily Mail reported.

Cervera opted to take the one-time cash payment of $17.8 million. She is planning to take her children to Disneyland.

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