TORONTO — Three southern Ontario farmers have harvested the largest single-ticket Lotto Max jackpot ever handed out in Ontario.
Bob Poetz, Robert Geier and Don Coluc of Burford, Ont., near Brantford, have been working together on the same ginseng farm for more than 10 years.
Poetz and Coluc have been playing the lottery together for a decade and only recently let Geier into their group.
But the three almost missed buying the $23-million jackpot winner for last Friday’s draw.
Poetz explains that as he drove up his driveway last Friday night, he was confused about whose turn it was to buy the weekly ticket for the group.
Poetz says he thought it was Coluc’s turn to buy a ticket, but he raced back into town and got the ticket before the store closed — finding out later Coluc had forgotten to buy a ticket.
“So had I not bought it, we wouldn’t have won,” Poetz said Thursday as the trio picked up their winnings in Toronto.
Poetz found out they had the winning ticket early on Saturday morning and called Coluc at home to wake him up.
The pair waited until they got to work to tell Geier, who didn’t believe them.
“It didn’t seem real, even though I checked the ticket and saw the numbers matched. It didn’t really sink in until we validated our ticket at the store,” said Geier.
Poetz says even though he’s now a millionaire, he won’t quit his job — something his two friends agreed with.
“We like what we do and we may just keep on doing it,” Geier said.