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Mega Millions: Not everyone dreaming of a fast car or mansion

March 30, 2012 |  1:25 pm

It was a sensible, perhaps even noble, bunch passing through a Huntington Beach 7-Eleven on Friday to buy a chance on the $640-million Mega Millions jackpot: they'd pay off debts, take care of family, open an animal sanctuary. No talk of fast cars or sprawling mansions here.

"I've seen the horror stories!" said Ellen Garcia, talking about big winners who lost it all.

So, instead: "If I go rich, my whole family will go rich with me!" And so would her church and her son's school, who'd benefit from her would-be largess.

PHOTOS: Mega Millions fever

Garcia, 52, of Westminster, bought $70 worth of tickets on Friday morning for 35 co-workers from the hospital where she works as a receptionist.

"Doctors and all!" she said. "They all want it. They all want a piece of the action."

Jorge Guerra, 45, of Santa Ana was buying $80 worth for just four of his co-workers from a local driving school.

"I'd be debt-free, that's for sure," Guerra said of his life after the win. "If you're smart, you'll be set for life. If you buy a bunch of toys, it'll be gone before you know it."

The record-setting jackpot was drawing people who typically don't roll the odds on the lottery, with a few struggling to figure out how to even fill out their lucky numbers.

Francisco Reza from Long Beach was one of them.

He'd already bought 10 Quick Picks at his wife's urging. And now he was getting one more. This one, however, he was filling out on his own. If any of his tickets turned out to be winner, he said, this would be the one.

Lori Mann of Huntington Beach said she’d let her winnings go to the dogs. Mann said she'd use her earnings for an animal sanctuary for dogs who had been abandoned by families who’d lost their homes to foreclosure.

"I'm not one of those people who's high-maintenance and wants a bunch of stuff," she said. "I have a roof over my head and food in my tummy, so I'm happy."

She was buying $20 worth of tickets for Friday night's drawing, and checking to see how her $20 worth from earlier in the week did. Mann scanned them one by one. And she had a winner! Two bucks.

"Woo-hoo!" she said with a sarcastic laugh.

"That,” she added, “ain't going to get the puppies very far!"


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--Rick Rojas in Huntington Beach

Photo credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images