Keno - not the Mega Millions $100 million jackpot - generated all of the excitement yesterday afternoon at the 8 Days A Week Convenience Mart in Parkville, where Bonnie Hacker walked away a $20,000 winner.
And it couldn't have happened at a better time.
"I just lost my job," said Hacker, a Parkville resident. "It seems I've had a streak of bad luck for seven years."
Holding tight to the winning ticket, Hacker left after verifying with a store clerk that she had the correct numbers for the payout. She said she was heading home to get her husband and son before heading to lottery headquarters on Reisterstown Road to claim her prize.
But she planned to return to the store, in the 1700 block of Taylor Ave., later in the evening to buy tickets for Mega Millions, a multistate lottery game. The drawing for the $100 million jackpot was last night.
The convenience store is one of the busiest lottery outlets in Baltimore County, said Krissy Bartholow, who has worked there for two years. People buy more Mega Millions tickets at this time of year, she added, because "they think they might win at Christmas, when miracles are supposed to happen."
Hacker wasn't the only one smiling yesterday among the small crowd that gathers regularly to play Keno and other lottery games.
Wanda Walker of Parkville said she came into the store with $60 and had won $750 by early afternoon playing Keno.
"I've been very lucky lately," said Walker, the mother of five boys. "I've hit some of the scratch-off games for several thousand dollars recently. I am really blessed."