Single ticket wins $270 million jackpot

February 23, 2008 8:31:32 PM PST
Six bundles of joy brought a Portal, Ga., couple a nine-figure life-changing jackpot. Tonya and Robert Harris won the $270 million Mega Millions jackpot today, after Tonya, 47, bought a ticket with the six lucky numbers her 54-year-old husband picked -- 7, 12, 13, 19, 22 and 10 -- which are their six grandchildren's birthdays.

"It just hasn't sunk in yet really. My husband is really excited, he's been crying all morning," Tonya Harris said. "Everything is unbelievable right now."

She said she and her husband, who was an ironworker for 21 years before quitting today, plan to use the money to help their family out of some financial trouble.

"We are going to pay the bills off and I want to take care of my kids first, I want to make sure they are OK, and the grandkids," she said. "God answers prayers, that's all I can say."

She purchased the winning ticket at Clyde's Market in Portal. John Campbell, a manager there, praised Harris's character.

"I've never seen her with a frown on her face, even on bad days," he said. "She's one of those people that loves people. You know she don't make enemies. I'm just really happy for her."

Bonnie Graham, a friend of Harris's concurred: "I was proud for her. I'm glad someone in Portal won something."

When asked if she planned to share the money, Harris responded, "Yes, my church and my family and maybe one or two friends, and the community people that I think need it, yeah. And there are some good deserving people around that -- we help each other out in need."

It seems the entire town is brimming with excitement. With an estimated population of only 597, it's one of those small towns where "everybody knows everybody," Campbell said.

"This little town is like jabber jabber jabber jabber," said Sheila Gunter, owner of Portal House of Styles.

The Georgia town is certainly getting its fair share of attention -- and many of its residents are proud of its new-found fame.

The town is "very excited," Campbell said. "Yeah, we're going to put our little town on the map."

Additional reporting contributed by Anna Maria Gibson.


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