KAMLOOPS - B.C.’s newest multi-millionaire is a fan of the number 21.
“My lottery ticket package was $21 and I discovered I won $21.9 million on Feb. 21,” Robert Goertzen, 44, says. "There's three number 21s and my lucky number through life is three."
Goertzen won $21.9 million this weekend in the Lotto 6-49 draw. While it wasn't the first thing he's won, his only other winning ticket got him a Stihl saw.
He says it took him a while to realize he was a winner. When he did, he surprised his girlfriend, Jobina Young, who was still in bed.
“I ran into the room and screamed at her 'We won the lottery.'”
He went back to the same Superstore in Kelowna where he bought the winning ticket to have his lottery tickets checked. He wanted to not only check the tickets at the same place he purchased them, but go to the cashier who sold them to him in the first place.
"We got to the Superstore at quarter to nine in the moning, but he wasn't there until nine," Goertzen says. "He was there, but he wasn't open, he was tidying up his tickets. So we went shopping and bought a couple extra things and waited until nine o'clock."
Goertzen says the clerk treased the couple about who got to go first when he bought the winning ticket, and this time it was no different. He told the clerk he'd go first and pulled out three tickets.
The first two tickets weren't the big winner.
“There was a free play on first ticket,” he says. “All the sudden boom, the screen lit up. I screamed and the whole store went quiet.”
Goertzen, a heavy equipment instructor with Taylor Pro Training in Kelowna, says he's going to keep going to work despite the big payday.
“I enjoy my job but it’s so hard to make a living,” he says. “My boss is the greatest guy in the world.”
Goertzen's still got some things he'd like to accomplish at his job and he's grateful for his boss's help.
"He took me in when I was in trouble. He took me into his house," he says. "I enjoy my job, so now I'm going to go for fun."
He's says the amount still hasn't sunk in.
"A thousand dollars in my account is OK. A million? I don't know anyone who has that," he says.
In the short term he’s going to spend some of the new cash on vehicles, including a newpickup truck for himself and a jeep for his girlfriend.
“She wants a jeep, so I’m going to go get her a new jeep. Anything for my girl,” he says.
While his 8 year-old daughter will probably want a quad, he says, his priority for her is school.
“She doesn’t know yet,” he says. “She’s going to get the best education now.”
He says other people in his life are going to receive a bit of help as well.
"My family that's helped me, they're going to get some help. My mom and dad are going to retire. I'm going to give them a boost," he says.
Long term he'd like to build a dream house in Kelowna, but hasn't had much time to plan things.
"I'm going to go to the bank and I'm going to ask them 'Where do I put this?" he says holding the cheque for $21.9 million.
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