Winners of Huge Lottery Jackpot Step Forward

A man buys lottery tickets on a whim and it pays off big

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    NEWSLETTERS

    KNBC
    The happy winners are Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros.

    His wife wanted KFC. But a Southern California man insisted on barbeque.

    After Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing, he can have all the barbeque he wants.

    It was during Gilbert Cisneros'  visit to L&L Hawaiian Barbecue at 8760 Washington Blvd. in Pico Rivera that the winner of the estimated $266 million Mega Millions jackpot, bought his ticket . The numbers in Tuesday night's multi-state Mega Millions draw were 9, 21, 31, 36, 43 and the Mega number is 8.   Half of the winning ticket belongs to Gilbert’s wife, long time NBCLA television newswoman Jacki Wells Cisneros.   
     
    Late Wednesday night the couple sat down and spoke exclusively with reporter Patrick Healy.  You could say there was some drama involved in the discovery of that winning ticket.

    Jacki was working her overnight shift at NBCLA when a news bulletin moved the winning ticket had been purchased in Pico Rivera at L&L Barbacue.   Always alert news producer Jeff Evans remembered Jacki was from Pico Rivera and handed her the advisory.

    After digesting the information (it was 2 in the morning) Jacki figured she had a tiger by the tail and she was not going to let go.

    She woke Gilbert up at home and demanded he retrieve his L&L lottery tickets.  Jacki said "he (Gilbert) was reading the fourth and the fifth number and all of a sudden he said I think we won...I just screamed and cried."

    Gilbert told Jacki "it's 2 in the morning, I told her to calm down calm down."   Jacki made Gilbert repeat the winning numbers over and over.    "I told her to stop yelling, we want to be anonymous, I don't want anyone to know, but so much for that,” Gilbert said.    Jacki must love working at NBCLA because she finished her shift and  left for home at her normal off time of 8 a.m.

    Here's the jackpot total with all the zeros: $266,000,000. It just looks better that way.

    The couple said they picked the numbers at random. The couple also said that Gilbert recently lost his job.

    They could take a one-time payout of roughly half the $266 million jackpot or opt for annual payments over 25 years.

    The owner of the restaurant will get a half of 1 percent of the winnings with a total cap at $1 million. With this large of a prize, the retailer can expect the cap. Lottery officials were at the restaurant Wednesday to present the owner with a check.
     
    The estimated jackpot is the eighth largest in the history of the game, which began in 2002. The odds of matching all five numbers and the Mega number is 1 in 175,711,536, according to the Mega Millions website.

    Twenty-eight tickets -- seven sold in California, three each in New Jersey and Virginia, two each in Michigan, Missouri, New York and Ohio, and one each in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Texas --  had five numbers, but didn't have the Mega number.

    The seven sold in California are each worth $179,428, while the other 21 are each worth $250,000, California Lottery officials announced.