Merritt couple collect $25.9 million lottery winnings in Kamloops

Cranberry juice and chocolate bars. Oh, and a Lotto Max ticket.

That was George Munro's trip to the Courtesy Corner Market in Merritt last Friday, Feb. 22. Because of that, he and his wife Rowena Inyallie had to drive all the way to Kamloops this week, but they seem pretty happy about it. That lotto ticket was worth $25.9 million.

"I got off work on Friday," he says, adding that his wife asked him to pick up the juice and chocolate bars on the way home. "(The cashier) scanned in all the chocolate bars and then I asked, 'How much is the cranberry juice?' because I was worried about the price."

The cashier told him and then asked if Munro wanted a lotto ticket, and Munro decided in the moment to get a quick pick.

"I said, 'Yeah, I'll take one.'"

Munro realized it was a winner Saturday, the day after the Lotto Max draw Friday. He was at a pub when he scanned a couple of tickets.

"I went to the Delphi Bar; I know it sounds bad, but it was Saturday, it was my day off," he said at a press conference today (Feb. 27). "I got my second ticket. I scanned it, the numbers went by and I was like, 'Holy cow, I think I won $25,000!'"

When he scanned it a second time he counted the zeroes more closely, realizing what it was worth.

After celebrating over the weekend they started deciding what to do with the money. The pair have a couple of daughters and grandchildren, who'll share in the winnings. They've also already made their first big purchase, a brand new Ford 350 pickup truck, and Munro says he plans to get a Ford Shelby Mustang.

"I was looking at YouTube and I saw the Ford Shelby, and it sounded so badass I said, 'I want that' and it's on the way," he said.

"There's only three in Canada and only one in our colour," Inyallie added.

As for the work situation, Munro, who used to work at the Merritt Tolko mill until it shut down, says he'll stay on at his current job for a bit, since they've been good to him.

"Just until they find someone," he says. "Hopefully quick."

The couple does plan to stay in Merritt and renovate their home, but are planning to talk to a financial advisor about what to do and are considering investing in properties, along with trips to see Toronto Blue Jays games and Vancouver Canucks games more often.

"It was supposed to be freedom 55," Inyallie joked. "And instead it's freedom 40s."

"You know how you have a bad dream and you want to wake up?" Munro said, describing the feeling the last couple of days. "Well, I don't want to wake up from this dream."

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