A seemingly ordinary shopping trip to find a charity gift for her kids' school led to this Irish housewife being £100,000 richer on a National Lottery scratchcard a week before Christmas.
Stephanie Harkin, 28, a housewife from Drumahoe, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, purchased the life-changing scratchcard while shopping at a local Tesco store to find presents for her two young sons' school charity project.
Stephanie remarked that she "always dreamed of winning, but never thought it would happen to me."
When asked how she ended up with the winning scratchcard, she said, "My two young sons had to bring a present to school the next day to place under the Christmas tree for St Vincent de Paul, so we all went along with my mum to Tesco on Lisnagelvin Road to buy the presents. While we were there, I bought myself a Diamond Riches Scratchcard which I scratched in the foyer as we were waiting for my mum to finish up her shopping."
"Once I saw the three diamonds, I knew that I had won a large amount as I'd played this card before, but I didn't want to get too excited. I checked the amounts on the card and when my mum returned, I kept telling her quietly that I'd won a hundred grand. I kept my voice down as I didn't want to make a scene but I was completely shaking all over and couldn't even remember the pin number to unlock my phone and call my husband."
At first, her husband Kieran, 33, a mechanic running his own business, didn't believe Stephanie and even asked her to approach the checkout desk and ask the shop attendant to verify the scratchcard.
Stephanie stated, "The girl behind the counter looked at my card and got visibly excited before telling me that she couldn't pay me over the counter as I'd won £100k. I had to calm myself down before I was fit to drive, then drove home to Kieran and we called the National Lottery straight away, who confirmed that we had won!"
Fortunately for this housewife, all of her Christmas shopping had been already been taken care of when she won the jackpot prize, so she has plenty of time to enjoy and relax with her family and to think carefully about how to spend her winnings.
In the New Year, she will be able to fulfill her family's dream trip to Disneyland Paris, and they will also be having a sun holiday in Benidorm, Spain.
Stephanie said, "We had a truly lovely Christmas, made all the better with that warm fuzzy feeling that a hundred grand in the bank can give you. Now we can't wait to get away on holiday - especially our trip to Disney for the first time, as I know the boys will absolutely love it. Apart from that, our feet will remain firmly on the ground. We are a very close family, my family is my life and we will continue to love our lives together as we always have."
"It's still hard to take it all in. The most I've ever won before is £10 so this win really is a dream come true for me. You never think that it'll happen to you but I'm proof to everyone out there that it can," she added.
Stephanie's lucky scratchcard costs £2 and carries a 1 in 4.24 overall chance of winning a prize, ranging from the lowest prize of £2 to the jackpot prize of £100,000.