A Clovis woman is now a millionaire after running to the store for tostadas and sticking $20 into a California Lottery vending machine.
Catalina Deniston, 41, a Fresno County government employee, was visiting her parents in Sanger on Monday when her father asked her to get a specific brand of tostadas from Gong’s Market on Academy Avenue, just south of North Avenue. The store will receive a $5,000 retailer bonus for selling the ticket.
As Deniston walked out of the store after 2 p.m., she saw the lottery machine and decided to try her luck. She bought two Big Money Scratchers games.
“Spur of the moment I decided, why not let me try my luck and see what happens,” Deniston said at a news conference late Friday afternoon. “I’m still in shock. I’m almost speechless.”
Deniston, who occasionally plays the Lotto and won $500 last year, scratched the tickets while eating a tostada alongside her father. When she saw the number, she asked her dad to double check.
I started scratching and thought $100 would be pretty nice. I kept scratching until all of the zeros were exposed. It hasn’t sunk in.
Million-dollar lottery winner Catalina Deniston
“I started scratching and thought $100 would be pretty nice,” Deniston said. “I kept scratching until all of the zeros were exposed. It hasn’t sunk in.”
Store owner Brian Gong said just a month ago he was talking to the lottery sales representative about the chances of winning. He questioned why Sanger has never had a winner.
Gong learned on Tuesday morning that his store, which celebrates 54 years in business next week, was a winner when lottery officials arrived with banners.
“Nobody from Sanger ever, the whole town of Sanger, has ever had any big winners, even $100,000,” said Gong, who has sold lottery tickets in his store for 30 years. “I thought this thing has to be rigged. You would think somebody in Sanger would win.”
Deniston hasn’t decided what to do with her money, but said her parents will be taken care of.
“Any more tostadas they want,” she said. “I’ll be going back to Gong’s.”