Debbie Kujava got up one morning last week at her home in Badger, Minn., looked at her lottery ticket and saw that a number matched.
"Oh, good," she thought. "At least I won a buck."
Turns out she won a lot more than that. As she checked her ticket against the winning numbers, they kept coming up a match.
"I was looking at my phone — back and forth, back and forth," she said. "I was turning it on and off." Gradually, it dawned on her: She had won $2 million.
She raced the half-mile to her brother Dennis' house and burst through the door. Hands shaking, they checked the ticket again. That's when Dennis' daughter, Denise, corrected their math.
The winning ticket was actually worth $22.8 million.
At that point, Debbie Kujava said, "I had to go and have a smoke."
The Kujava family was introduced Monday as the winners of the Lotto America jackpot. They are the first-ever winners of the multistate game, which was introduced in November. Their odds of winning: about one in 26 million.
The family is taking the winnings as a $13.5 million lump sum worth, after taxes, about $9.4 million.
Debbie and Dennis Kujava, who have been buying lottery tickets as a team since the Minnesota Lottery was established in 1998, will split the winnings 50-50. And Dennis is splitting his half with his two daughters: Denise, who lives with him, and Deanna, who lives in New Jersey.
"Most people wish on that for a whole lifetime," said Dennis Kujava, a retired welder who worked for 20 years at Polaris Industries in Roseau.
Debbie Kujava, a licensed practical nurse for Roseau Lifecare Medical Center, worked 12-hour shifts over the weekend and then quit her job.
"I talked to my administrator at length and I started crying," she said. But she knows what she'll do with her share of the money.
"Pay some bills!" she said with a laugh, adding that she also plans to make a donation to the Trails for Treatment Cancer Benefit Ride.
Dennis Kujava said he'll make a donation to his church, but hasn't thought much beyond that. No 'round-the-world cruises or fancy mansions for him.
"I got a big enough house already," he said.
Denise Kujava isn't sure yet whether she'll quit her $18-an-hour job putting decals on Polaris snowmobiles.
"It's just a shock," she said. The family had to keep quiet about their win until it was officially announced. Word spread quickly, and as soon as the news conference ended, Denise Kujava's phone was pinging with texts from friends and family members in Roseau.
Debbie Kujava paid $7 for the bundle of tickets she bought at a Holiday gas station. It turned out to be the best investment she's ever made, but she's not done yet.
"I already bought a Lucky for Life ticket tonight," she said.