An Orange County couple celebrated a huge windfall when they cashed a $20 “Hit It Big” scratcher ticket on June 8, winning them a cool $5 million from the California Lottery.
Kendra Skwarczynski and her husband Craig had very different reactions once they saw her lucky ticket.
“I’m actually a really calm person,” Kendra said in a California Lottery news release. “I just kinda passed it over to him to make sure I’m reading it right.”
Craig, who had bought two of the scratcher tickets at a liquor store in Huntington Beach, had a far more emotional response.
“I was the one flipping out and crying,” Craig said. His primary thought at the time was that he wants his family happy and taken care of, he said.
The couple has played the lottery for a long time as a fun hobby, and have won much smaller amounts of money before. Craig said those prizes do not compare to a life-changing one like this.
Francisco Lopez, who works at Surf City Liquor on Brookhurst Street where the ticket was sold, told NBC4 that Craig Skwarczynski is a regular customer.
Lopez recalled that Craig started screaming when he saw he and his wife had won.
“It [was] a lucky day for him,” Lopez said. “We cheered. We were so happy for him.”
California Lottery says the store will receive a $25,000 bonus just for selling the ticket. That might not be all the profit the small shop will make off the Skwarczynskis’ luck. Lopez said the store has seen a large uptick in customers since then.
“Crazy sales for sure,” he said. “Really busy now … all day long. People asking for the [winning ticket], then they buy it.”
The couple has the option to receive $200,000 per year for the next 25 years or get a lump sum payment of $2.9 million before tax.
As for what they plan to do with the money, Craig has an idea for his beloved Kendra.
“Get her a castle,” Craig said.