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Big lottery win just a number off

Oct 04 2012
Some of the Lotto Max winners from Advance Collision are from L-R: Wolf Fleischer, Ron McPhee, Darryl Morneau, Ramona White and George Grant. 

Some of the Lotto Max winners from Advance Collision are from L-R: Wolf Fleischer, Ron McPhee, Darryl Morneau, Ramona White and George Grant.

Photograph by: Lyle Stafford , Times Colonist

What's the difference between $40 million and $7,526?

Just one number when you're talking about the Lotto Max lottery.

Twenty-five of the 30 employees at Advance Collision in Victoria learned Wednesday they almost won the Lotto Max $40 million, a win that would have seen each participant pocket nearly $2 million.

Instead, with one number off, the group won $7,526.90, and each takes home about about $300.

Paul Gilmore, who runs the pool for the group, checked the numbers for the Sept. 28 draw at a convenience store Tuesday evening.

"I looked over to see what the excitement was about and thought 'All right, we got something!' " Gilmore said on a break from work Wednesday.

It was a nice chunk of change, but it could have been so much better.

When Gilmore came into work on Wednesday, his colleagues noted the excitement on his face.

"We thought he was just playing a joke on us because he's that kind of a person," Ramona White said.

Still, a win is a win and employees seemed happy to get something from their weekly investment of $5.

Had they won the jackpot, White said, she would have finished her house, gone on a trip and shared the bounty with her six children, two of whom still live at home.

George Grant, 51, would have been out the door had the numbers lined up in his favour.

"Do you know how hard it is to come to work today?" he joked.

The windfall would have allowed Grant to retire and take a break after 24 years working.

Wolfgang Fleischer, 32, would have moved out of his rental suite and bought a house.

"It definitely would have been nice to retire," he said. "We almost [won]. We pool it all together so our chances are better."

When Gilmore came to work "all giddy" on Wednesday, manager Chris Bradley knew the group had won something.

"When he said we were one number away from $40 million, I thought we'd maybe get half a million," Bradley said, noting the owner is also part of the group sharing the ticket.

Had they won, "there would have been a closed sign on the building," Bradley joked.

smcculloch@timescolonist.com

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