A Vernon couple’s stockings have been stuffed with cash this Christmas.
Diana Cools and Neil Remsbery are the winners of a $500,000 prize on the Lotto Max extra. The couple held off for more than a month before claiming the Nov. 6 prize.
“I never checked it at first, I had it in my purse for five days,” admits Cools, who purchased the ticket at the downtown Chevron gas station on 32nd Street.
It wasn’t until Remembrance Day that Cools checked the ticket, back at the Chevron.
“I didn’t believe them at all. I think I said, ‘No this isn’t right, you guys are joking around.’”
When she realized it was no joke, Cools called her partner of more than 35 years to share the news.
“I thought it was BS at first,” said Remsbery, who grew up in Coldstream and Vancouver. “Then she handed the phone to the retail lady.”
Wanting to share the excitement with her partner, Cools decided to wait until he got home from his 10-week stint working in Alberta.
Cools, who grew up in Winfield, admits it wasn’t easy waiting to claim the prize.
“I was a nervous wreck carrying around that ticket.
“It’s quite something, I could’ve lost it. It was in my messy purse.”
The couple drove to Kamloops to claim their prize Tuesday at the B.C. Lottery Corporation office.
The couple have no children, but have several pets they’ve been spoiling.
“When I found out, the next place I went was Safeway and bought some groceries and to the fish section and bought the cats an expensive can of sockeye salmon,” said Cools.
They are still waiting for the news to sink in and aren’t sure yet what they might spend their winnings on.
“We’re kind of still in a daze,” said Cools, who looks after their acreage while Remsbery works for a pipeline outfit.
Although there is one item that they are eager to pick up.
“Now I can get free cheques at the bank,” said Cools, who was recently informed that if you have $100,000 or more in the bank you aren’t charged for cheques.
This is the second win for the couple, who are regular lottery players, after collecting $50,000 in 1993 on the BC/49.
Since good things usually come in threes, they are hoping to make another trip to Kamloops soon.