“I never even looked at the numbers,” Yancey says. On Thursday morning, she was watching the “Today Show” when she heard someone in Annandale won $1 million. “I just knew it was me” without even checking the numbers. she says. So she put on lipstick, went to Giant, and asked a clerk to run the numbers.
And that’s when she learned she’d won $1 million. Yancey shops at the Giant, at 7137 Columbia Pike, several times a week but is not a regular lottery player. “It’s just something I happened to do on that one day.”
At a news conference at Giant Aug. 12, where Virginia Lottery officials presented her with a giant replica of a $1 million check, Yancey declined to get specific about what she will do with the money other than to say, “I want to be open to ideas of helping other people.” She’s not looking at doing anything really extravagant, at least not yet. “I just want to keep being who I am,” she says.
After funds for state and federal taxes are withheld, Yancey will take home $710,000, says Virginia Lottery spokesperson John Hagerty.
Yancey has been a legal secretary in Washington, D.C., for 36 years and says she doesn’t want to continue the daily 9 to 5 grind but wouldn’t say whether she has quit her job or plans to. A resident of central Annandale, Yancey grew up here, attending the old Annandale Elementary School, Poe Middle School, and Thomas Jefferson High School. She is single and has pets but no children.
She has no immediate plans to move out of the area, noting, “I’m happy here.” She is taking care of her parents, and her 96-year-old father got overly excited when he heard she had won the lottery. Her mother was less able to understand what happened. She also has no immediate plans to travel. A previously planned trip to Virginia Beach will be delayed, as she’s intent on staying out of the limelight.
Yancey was just one number away from winning the jackpot in the multi-state Powerball drawing Aug. 8, but she indicated she’s better off with $1 million than a much bigger sum. The total $448 million Powerball jackpot was split among three winners, including an engineer in Minnesota and two unidentified people in New Jersey.
“When you don’t have enough money, you don’t sleep well at night; when you have a lot of money, you don’t sleep that well either,” she says. Yancey says she has already talked with a financial adviser, acknowledging, “all of this is really new to me.”
She seemed uncomfortable with all the media attention and probably would have preferred to remain anonymous. Virginia requires the name, home town, and store where the winning ticket was purchased to be publicly revealed for every winning ticket of $600 or more, says Hagerty. “That’s to prove that real people really do win the lottery.”
Hagerty says someone wins a really large amount about once a month. So far this year, Virginia has had eight $1 million winners, two $2 million winners, and one person who won $217 million.
Virginia Lottery officials also presented a $10,000 check to the Annandale Giant as a bonus for selling the winning ticket. Tom Mowery, the manager of the store, says those funds will be contributed to the community.