Q&A on the News

Q: A while back, an elderly lady in Florida won $590.5 million in the Powerball jackpot. She bought the winning ticket after somebody let her cut in line. If they hadn’t, they might have won the money. Did she give them a monetary reward?

—Tom Brayton, Sharpsburg

A: There have been no reports of Gloria C. MacKenzie rewarding Mindy Crandell, who didn’t say anything when the 84-year-old MacKenzie stepped in front of her in a Publix in Zephyrhills, Fla., in May. “I don’t know that she was intentionally cutting,” Crandell told the Tampa Bay Times, “or maybe she didn’t realize she did it.” MacKenzie issued a written statement when she went to claim her winnings in early June, referring to Crandell without calling her by name. “While in line, another lottery player was kind enough to let me go ahead of them in line to purchase the winning Quick Pick ticket.” Lottery spokesman David Bishop said MacKenzie’s purchase likely wouldn’t have affected the lottery outcome for Crandell. “Each lottery terminal has its own random number generator and there are a lot of factors,” he told the paper. “If there was even a millisecond difference in the time between key strokes at the terminal, it would have changed the numbers.” MacKenzie chose to take the lump sum payment of $370 million, before taxes. Crandell has said she’s not upset. “I mean, maybe … she needed it more than we did,” Crandell told WTSP in St. Petersburg, Fla. “Whatever it was, it was meant to be that she had it.”

Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).

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