For at least the past five years, a group of information technology employees at Louisville’s Humana headquarters have pitched in a few bucks every week to buy Powerball tickets. A retailer is located in the office tower next door to their building. The most they’d ever won was $16 – until Wednesday night of last week, when the group matched all five white balls but not the Powerball to win $1 million.
The excitement started Thursday afternoon, when pool member Larry Thomas went to the Kentucky Lottery’s website to see if any of his Powerball tickets were winners. “I saw where a million dollar winner had been sold next door at Straus, and that’s where I buy my tickets,” he said. “I checked mine and didn’t have any winners.” Thomas then printed a copy of the news story concerning the win and showed it to co-worker and pool member Bart Dawson.
“By now it was 3:00 in the afternoon, and we thought we should check with our pool captain (Susan Lea) to see if we had the winner,” Dawson said. “I showed her the story and she hadn’t heard anything about it.” Lea handed out the tickets with the 30 sets of numbers the group had for the drawing and started reading the winning numbers. “She kept reading the numbers, and I kept saying ‘yep’,” Thomas said.
By this time it was the end of the day, so Lea called a meeting of the group the next morning to make the announcement. “She called a meeting of the group and labeled it as being mandatory and confidential,” said pool member Jessie Goodloe. “Folks had no idea what was going on. Several were actually afraid we were about to be fired!” Once in the meeting and the announcement was made, Goodloe said the reaction was incredible. “Lot of dropped jaws, and a bunch of hooting and hollering,” she laughed.
The group didn’t come in until the Tuesday after the win because they had to take care of one order of business. “There were a couple of folks who contributed every week over the years to the pool who didn’t make it in to this one,” said Dawson. “One guy had a death in the family, another was traveling, that sort of thing. We all got together on Friday to vote whether or not to include them in the win since they’d been with us for so long, and the group overwhelmingly decided they should be part of this experience.”
As for what they’ll do with the money, Goodloe said several have already made plans. “I’m scheduling Lasik surgery, and one other pool member called yesterday and booked a trip to Disneyworld for her family,” she laughed.
After taxes, each member will receive $23,793.11. The retailer, Straus #15 in the PNC Tower at 5th and Main in Louisville, will receive a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.