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Woman who won big lottery prize had been allowed to cut ahead in line

Wednesday - 6/5/2013, 5:58pm  ET

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The 84-year-old woman who is now the biggest single lottery winner in U.S. history says she bought her ticket after another customer let her move ahead in the line at a supermarket in her home town of Zephyrhills, Fla.

Gloria Mackenzie collected a lump-sum payment of about $370 million -- or $270 million after taxes -- from the May 18th Powerball drawing. Her winning ticket was one in which the numbers were generated randomly by lottery computers. She had bought five tickets in all.

Mackenzie didn't speak to reporters at lottery headquarters in Tallahassee today, but issued a statement asking for privacy for her family. A lottery spokesman says Mackenzie, her lawyers and a financial adviser were very prepared when they arrived.

Neighbors of Mackenzie, who lives in a modest grey duplex across from a cow pasture, were surprised to hear that she had won. They say she never mentioned it. One neighbor says, "It couldn't have happened to a nicer person."

Another says, "I hope she gets a better place to live."

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%@AP Links

204-a-07-(Cynthia O'Connell, Florida lottery secretary, at news conference)-"I validate it"-Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell says the winner and her family arrived unannounced to claim the jackpot this morning. (5 Jun 2013)

<> 00:07 "I validate it"

203-a-13-(Cynthia O'Connell, Florida lottery secretary, at news conference)-"a jackpot win"-Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell says the winner and her family had good reasons for waiting a couple of weeks to claim the winnings. (5 Jun 2013)

<> 00:13 "a jackpot win"

201-a-10-(Cynthia O'Connell, Florida lottery secretary, at news conference)-"of Zephyrhills, Florida"-Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell says the record Powerball jackpot winner is an elderly woman who wants to keep her privacy. (5 Jun 2013)

<> 00:10 "of Zephyrhills, Florida"

GRAPHICSBANK: Gloria Mackenzie headshot, winner of the Powerball $590 million jackpot, Tallahassee, Florida, graphic element on gray (5 Jun 2013)

APPHOTO FLSC102: Powerball winner Gloria C. Mackenzie, 84, left, leaves the lottery office escorted by her son, Scott Mackenzie, after claiming a single lump-sum payment of about $370.9 million before taxes on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Tallahassee, Fla. Officials say she is the largest sole lottery winner in U.S. history. She did not speak to reporters outside lottery headquarters, leaving in a silver Ford Focus with family members. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) (5 Jun 2013)

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