Couples split million dollar prize
It was a text message no one could believe.
When Bonnie Smyl texted her husband, Roland Joly, and his business co-owner, Vernon Goad, that they had a won a million dollars, their response was to ask if it was a joke.
“Of course, I thought she was kidding,” recalled Joly; after all, the chances of having a Maxmillions winning ticket was one in 29 million. Goad had to check the lottery numbers himself online before he realized it was no joke.
Once it did sink in, Smyl’s first response was to do a little jig. “You get giggly, you get excited and then you do a happy dance,” she said, remembering that her husband had just stared at the ticket and said, “They sure look good when they’re all in a row.”
Smyl had bought the ticket for her husband and herself, as well as Vernon and his wife Brenda, at the Mac’s Convenience Store in St. Paul the night before the Friday, June 22 Lotto Max draw. On Saturday, she was at home in St. Paul, steaming potatoes for a potato salad when she decided to check her ticket numbers online. As she checked the second set of numbers, she saw that set exactly matched their ticket. Her immediate thought was, ‘Oh no, that can’t be.’ But once she verified the news, she immediately let her husband and friends know.
Because the Goads were going to a wedding and didn’t want to trump the newlyweds’ special day, the group tried to keep the news a secret. But their bubbly mood and grins were hard to repress.
Smyl, who was at the lake with some friends, decided to have a few more drinks than usual to celebrate, which people noticed. She came clean, telling her friends, “We think we won the million,” which set off a celebration and a round of hugs.
As for the Goads, they too couldn’t keep the news to themselves, and by the end of the night of the wedding, they shared the news with their family members and enjoyed a dance to the song, “If I had a Million Dollars.”
Smyl notes her kids always asked her for things like quads, and her answer was always, “When we win a million dollars, we’ll talk.” Now they’re bringing it up and reminding her of her past promises, but she’s quick to point out that she and their father only won $500,000.
“They say, ‘We knew you’d find a catch somehow,’” she laughs.
Joly and Goad started their Elk Point-based business Signatures Collision and Frame 17 years ago, and have come a long way since then. “We went into debt together and we came out of debt together,” says Smyl, adding the prize will help pay off the last of their debts.
The Goads, who live on a farm north of Clandonald, plan to pay off their mortgage with their portion of the winnings, while Smyl and Joly will put their share in the bank for now, with plans to use the money to support their kids’ education and other expenses.
But Goad is quick to note they’re all trying to keep their feet on the ground. Even though it’s not every day a person cashes in a $1 million lottery ticket, “Life goes on,” he said.
Smyl’s advice is for people to “play responsibly . . . it only takes one ticket to win it.”
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