Chalk this one up to the power of the media. Mere hours after Lottery officials released a photo to the media asking for help in identifying a potential $52 million Lottery winner did that person walk into the Lottery’s Sacramento District Office to claim their colossal prize.
The winning ticket was for the MEGA Millions draw on July 27. Marita and Bladimir Agnite of Fremont said they didn’t know that they had hit the jackpot until a relative called Bladimir to tell him that they thought they had seen his picture on the news. The picture was a snapshot image taken from surveillance video from Kwik Stop located at 3157 Walnut Avenue in Fremont, which is where the winning ticket had been sold. Lottery officials released the image after noting that someone had checked the ticket multiple times at area Raley’s and Safeway stores, but had failed to claim the win.
“I scanned it multiple times. 'See the clerk'. We didn’t see the amount, just 'see the clerk'. We didn’t know,” said Bladimir explaining why they had waited over a month to come forward. He heeded the advice from his in-laws to go on the Lottery’s website to see the photo image for himself. Once he saw himself on the screen he immediately got his wife out of bed to share the news. “He said, ‘We’re wanted!’” said Marita who added that she was also floored when she saw the picture too. “My stomach started … I started crying. He hugged me and we just cried and cried,” said Marita.
What an amazing turn of events. Bladimir had been laid off from his job at a printing company. Marita works as a nursing assistant at a Bay Area hospital. The humble couple is determined to remain level headed about their win and to keep their children grounded. “They know how to cook and how to clean. We’ve tried to stick together whatever was happening,” said Marita. She sees college in her children’s future. The Lottery winnings will certainly cover those expenses. The money will also cover the cost of a much needed house. “We have been living with friends. Now we’re renting an apartment,” said Bladimir. Even after the massive win the Agnites say they don’t want to take anything for granted. So even though she is now a multi-millionaire, Marita believes she will keep working. “You can’t just quit the job. You never know what’s gonna happen,” said Bladimir.