How long can you keep a $50-million secret?
Andrea and Bill Groner managed to keep their lottery windfall in the immediate family for seven months.
But the Edmonton couple's exciting news is now out — they are the mystery winners of the $50-million Lotto Max jackpot from Dec. 20.
Andrea discovered the win two days after the draw when she stopped at a shopping mall and checked the ticket at a self-serve scanner.
The couple decided to keep to their normal routines for awhile and continued to work.
But now that their identity has been revealed, they say they want to help family, friends and charities.
"We have some ideas for the money," Andrea said as they picked up their cheque Tuesday at the Western Canada Lottery office.
"We'll take it one day at a time," Bill added.
Andrea recalled her reaction when she found out the ticket was a winner.
"I saw the amount on the screen. I didn't have my glasses on, but I saw a lot of numbers," she said. "I asked the store clerk to look, too. She asked how much I thought I'd won. I said, 'I won the lottery?'"
Not wanting to be overheard on the phone in the mall, Andrea waited until she got home to tell her husband the news.
"I had to double-check the numbers in the paper to be sure," he said. "It was hard to believe."
When asked how they managed to keep to their normal lives, Andrea said it's not that easy to make a wholesale change.
"A lot of people think they'd quit their job as soon as they found out," she said. "But you have friendships and relationships with the people you work with and it's hard to just cut those ties. You don't want to leave people in the lurch."
The winning ticket was bought at a tobacco kiosk at Londonderry Mall in northeast Edmonton.
It's the second-largest lottery prize ever won in Alberta. The largest Canadian windfall also came from that province — $54.3 million won by oilfield workers in a Lotto 6-49 draw in October 2005.