Sometimes, karma gets you—in the best of ways. When she was 5 years old, Juliette Lamour of Ontario, Canada, and her sister Sophie emptied their shared piggy bank for a good cause. They donated just over $60 dollars to the Canadian Red Cross, which at the time was raising money to help the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Fast forward 13 years and Lamour, now 18 years old, bought her first lottery ticket ever, and actually won the jackpot. She won $48 million Canadian dollars ($35.7 million USD)!
The story of how she even found herself buying the winning ticket is even more serendipitous. On her way to give her grandfather a visit, she stopped at a convenience store to get her him some ice cream. Unsure of what flavor to get for him, she gave her grandpa a call. “I called him on the phone asking what kind of ice cream he wanted. And he said to me: ‘You just turned 18, go buy a lotto ticket, test your luck.’ So I did,” she recalled as she unveiled her novelty check during a ceremony at the Ontario's Lottery and Gaming headquarters.
A lottery newbie, Lamour wasn't even sure how to purchase a lottery ticket. “I got to the corner store and I’m in my car—and I didn't know how to buy it. So I had to call my dad. I said: ‘Dad, Grandpa wants me to buy a ticket. How do I do it?’ He's like: ‘Oh, just go inside and get a QuickPick.'”
Some time later, Lamour was returning from a 15-minute break at her job—where she works as a pharmacist’s assistant—and the office was unexpectedly buzzing with excitement. Lamour asked what happened, and was told, “Someone in [the city] won the 48 million! We thought we won the lottery.” Lamour asked if they meant the Lotto 649, and brought up that she had bought a ticket. When her boss checked it on his phone, the app announced with large letters and a jingle that it was the winning ticket. In complete disbelief, she called her family, who could barely figure out what was happening.
Now, the young woman has claimed the incredible prize. And despite the life-changing sum she’s been awarded, she remains firm on pursuing higher education in the form of a medical degree, and giving back to her community. “I wanted to go to medical school before winning the lottery. Now I can pursue this dream without worrying about grants or loans,” Lamour says. “As a member [of] the Garden River First Nation community, I was eligible for educational assistance programs, but I no longer need those resources which means someone else in the community can benefit from that funding.” She also wants to use her money to travel the world. “Once school is done, my family and I will pick a continent and start exploring,”