9 Ont. co-workers quit jobs after winning $60M jackpot

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Nine co-workers from a Guelph auto parts manufacturer have quit their jobs after winning a $60-million Lotto Max jackpot.

The co-workers, who range in age from 21 to 57 years old, worked side-by-side on the assembly floor at Guelph’s Linemar Corporation.

“We’re a very close line – closer than any of the other lines,” group leader Ala Hirmiz said in an OLG press release. “We always talk and joke and celebrate each other’s birthdays. And now we get to celebrate this unbelievable win together!”

Members of the group say they had casually bought lottery tickets before, but only began playing together in the last couple months.

“We only play if it’s $50M plus – we want the big one, we don’t want the small one,” Hirmiz laughed.

Before their big win, they had only bought tickets three or four times, with group members Mussie Kelete and Ella Nicole Cabrera playing with the group for the first time the week they won.

“I almost didn’t hand over my $5 when it was time to buy our ticket,” group member, Mercedes Granadino said. “But I had this sixth sense, like some spirit sitting on my shoulder telling me to play!”

Granadino was the first to hear that the winning ticket from the previous night’s draw had been purchased in Guelph, quickly calling ticket-holder Fernando Meneses to check their numbers.

Initially Meneses thought they had only won $6,000, but scanned the ticket again and discovered that they had won the jackpot.

It took five or six checks for the news to really sink in.

“I thought maybe this app is lying, so I’m going to go to winning numbers,” Meneses said. “I check again, one by one, until the seventh, and I got it!”

News of the win started to spread through the group, but it wasn’t until they all met the next day that all nine knew they had taken the jackpot.

“I was overwhelmed,” group member Steven Rush said. “All the possibilities of the future were just there.”

All nine of them say they’ve already handed in their resignations at the factory, saying that while it’s not easy to leave, the win gives them a chance to pursue new opportunities.

“They’re happy, but our supervisors, they’re upset also because we shut down the whole line,” Meneses said.

The group says that even though they won’t be seeing each other every day anymore, they still plan to keep in touch, planning a get-together for a year from now and keeping in touch through calls and texts.

“And for sure we’re going to play when it’s $50M plus,” Hirmiz added.