“My mom won the lottery and kept it a secret from everyone except our family”
A mum eventually won the lottery after playing since it began in 1994 – but she decided not to separate anyone from her own family.
In an exclusive piece for metroher daughter, writing under the pseudonym Charlotte Thomas, describes how on Mother’s Day 2011, just minutes into her usual 10-4 shift, she was at a coffee shop when her boss approached her and said her mother was on the phone.
After hearing her mother urgently wanted to speak to her, Charlotte put the phone to her ear and listened to her mother say, “I won. I have six numbers.”
Charlotte wrote of her mother in Metro: “It was always her goal to retire early and put her feet up, but to actually do so was beyond her wildest dreams.”
And yet she had won a whopping £2.2million.
Charlotte’s mother had always syndicated at work, and many people had dropped out over the years. But she and her best friend decided to keep playing every week and eventually it paid off when they both became millionaires.
Charlotte said it was quite frustrating trying to get through the rest of her coffee shop shift without telling anyone when she just wanted to rush home and check the tickets.
When she got home, she said she was struck by how much her family’s lives would be “changed forever” — though it wasn’t quite what she “expected.”
After graduating just months later, Charlotte said her mother told her to quit her job and that she would support her until she found work that would tie in with her degree.
Describing how her life has been filled with “long lunches” and luxury shopping sprees, she explains that work didn’t even really cross her mind as she just loved spending time with her “best friend.”
Charlotte went on to say how, even though she knew her mother was very lucky, she couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of the win than her mother.
“I was glad that happened to her — yes, I was biased, but I couldn’t think of a person who deserved it more,” she said.
Her mother gave Charlotte and her siblings new cars and bought a new house. Charlotte also got a Chanel handbag for Christmas.
But Charlotte said it all caught up with her when she was in the red at £2,500 just three years after graduating.
She explained it wasn’t really due to big purchases, but she did spend heavily on lunches, clothes and nights out with friends — and her money was starting to dwindle because she didn’t have a job.
Deciding that “enough is enough,” Charlotte said she realized she needed to make a change. Though she studied hard for her degree, she said she felt like a failure for not getting anything out of it.
Determined to change the way she lives, Charlotte landed a job at a recruitment agency that manages her social media.
And since then, she’s taken on a job she’s always wanted to do – copywriting for a number of brands.
While her mother knew she had an overdraft, Charlotte explained that she didn’t know how much she owed.
But she took it upon herself to address her issues and said she gradually began paying off her overdraft as soon as she worked. She never asked her mother to help pay.
From all of this, Charlotte said, she learned a really important lesson.
She said that while winning the money had an “amazing” impact on her family, it also caused problems. And besides that, she’s seen how much damage money can do.
For her mother’s friend, who also won the lottery, the money had a devastating effect.
After winning, she retired in her late 30s and eventually divorced her husband.
With nothing to do, she turned to alcohol and unfortunately developed a drinking problem. She lost her driver’s license for drunk driving, became very isolated and sadly died.
PA archive/PA images)
Charlotte said her friend’s death “shook her to the core”.
The money also created problems within Charlotte’s family.
She describes how her eldest sister – her sister – has always lived beyond her means and kept asking her mother for money.
It damaged and caused fissures in their relationship, and Charlotte said she would never want the money to come between her and her mother.
While she’s never said she wants some distance from money, Charlotte says her mother has realized it now. When they go out, they split the cost and both pay for things. And they’ve also set a budget for birthday and Christmas gifts.
The lessons learned completely changed Charlotte’s attitude towards money and shopping habits, and she says she now gets excited when she sees her savings accumulate instead of buying expensive handbags.
Where she used to go to the grocery store and buy whatever she wanted for dinner, she now says she makes meal plans and keeps an eye out for yellow stickers to save money.
She admits that saving money “is easy” for her and her boyfriend as they don’t usually drink and prefer to cook at home after one too many bad meals.
Charlotte has several savings accounts for one-time expenses like insurance and Christmas and birthday gifts, and she says she also has an emergency account.
She describes her relationship with money as much better, usually only spending it on essentials so she doesn’t feel bad about indulging in books or clothes.
“Nine years later, no one outside of our immediate family knows that my mother won the lottery; she didn’t want the attention that came with going public,” she explained.
Charlotte says that despite everything, she still plays the lottery because she’s also seen the positive impact it’s had on her life.
If she hadn’t won, she said, her mother would still be struggling to make ends meet. Instead, she was able to give each of her children £10,000 to help them climb the estate ladder.
Charlotte said she was “eternally grateful” to her mother for helping her.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/my-mum-won-lottery-kept-27013050 "My mom won the lottery and kept it a secret from everyone except our family"