The New York State Lottery got part of its money back in promotional value Wednesday when it announced Linda Geloso as one of two million-dollar winners in Erie County.
The 59-year-old, who won on a $1 million "Kangaroo Kash" card, walked into the West Seneca Convenient Food Mart where she bought her $5 ticket wearing sunglasses, a straw hat, matching pink-and-white checked sweater and scarf -- and carrying a 4-foot stuffed kangaroo.
Geloso said one of the things she was happiest about with the winnings was that it meant "no more quarters and dimes," a reference to her plans to move out of her apartment into a house and put the world of Laundromats behind her.
Also introduced was John Bolden, a retired General Motors worker who won his $1 million on another $5 scratch-off card, "Jumbo Bucks."
Bolden, from Buffalo, arrived in a little more relaxed style, wearing an exercise suit and baseball cap.
According to lottery officials, the two are the first two lottery millionaires of the year from Erie County, and Geloso is the first West Seneca millionaire.
All instant win tickets pay out in 20 annual installments of $50,000, minus taxes.
Both winners said they planned to keep their jobs, Geloso as a facilities assistant at Verizon and Bolden driving a bus for We Care.
"The kids still have to go to school," quipped Bolden. He said he had few plans for the money beyond paying off his bills and "living comfortably." He bought his ticket at Food Market Plus on Amherst Street in Buffalo.
Geloso got a warm welcome at the Convenient store Wednesday. She has been a regular customer there for 12 years, said store owner Charles Markel.
Geloso has also been a supporter of Ryan's Hope, the organization Markel and his wife, Sandy, formed to teach CPR after the drowning death of their son, Ryan, in a Depew school pool in 2002, he said.
About a half hour after the lottery circus moved into the store to make the announcement, it left.
Geloso exited, with Markel giving her a hand -- carrying her kangaroo.