Ian McMurtrie of Abbotsford almost forgot to purchase the weekly set of lottery tickets that he and his three co-workers splurged on every Friday.
It was Good Friday, but McMurtrie thought it was Saturday and that he had missed the Lotto Max draw for the week. Later in the day, he realized his mistake and made the drive to his usual purchasing spot – the Otter Co-op at the corner of Fraser Highway and Ross Road.
There, he made his regular purchase – four $5 tickets, each with three sets of numbers chosen via the “quick pick” option.
It was the next morning when McMurtrie discovered how fortuitous that last-minute trip had been.
Wendy, his wife of 22 years, heard news reports that the winning $30 million Lotto Max ticket had been sold in Abbotsford.
McMurtrie went onto the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) website and began checking the seven numbers.
“I only got through five numbers before I began shaking and collapsed,” he said.
Wendy checked the remaining digits, and then began screaming. But it seemed too good to be true.
McMurtrie then checked every website he could that listed the winning numbers, and all produced the same result.
Next, it was time to notify his cohorts – Wayne Miller of Abbotsford, and Tom Moryson and Joe Scully of Langley. All worked together as sales staff at a Langley golf store, although McMurtrie was laid off just two weeks ago due to downsizing.
They all took some convincing of the win – none more so than Scully.
“He didn’t believe it. He hung up on us and thought we were just trying to get him to come over to watch golf and drink beer.”
Scully finally absorbed the news after McMurtrie emailed him a photo of the winning ticket. All four gathered at the McMurtrie household on Saturday afternoon for a champagne celebration.
But they had to wait until the BCLC offices opened Tuesday morning – after the Easter long weekend – to claim their prize.
“It was a very long weekend – very, very little sleep. It’s quite stressful, but it’s a good stress,” McMurtrie said.
The quartet picked up their cheque from the BCLC office in Vancouver on Tuesday afternoon. McMurtrie said the four are still trying to absorb the news and haven’t yet made any concrete plans on how they will each spend their money.
However, the avid golfers – who are now all officially retired from their jobs – hope to check off at least one item on their bucket lists: They want to travel to Augusta, Georgia next year for the Masters Golf Tournament.
McMurtrie summed up their new reality by referring to a BCLC ad featuring four friends on a fly-fishing trip.
“I just saw that commercial … and thought that’s just like us, only we’ll be golfing.”
The group’s winning ticket numbers were 15, 18, 19, 25, 32, 42 and 49. The bonus number was 43.