Cheers and songs broke out at the Philadelphia transit agency offices on Thursday when 48 employees learned they had literally hit the jackpot - the $172.7 million Powerball lottery prize.
Divided equally, the group of administrative employees of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority would each get more than $2.2 million, minus taxes, in a one-time cash payment. Philadelphia's NBC10.com reported that a co-worker said the group had decided on the lump sum.
"I know that when one of the winners came to the particular floor that I'm on, there were songs of 'For he's a jolly good fellow,' and a lot of clapping and hugs," said Jerri Williams, director of media relations for the agency.
The winners all worked at the Center City headquarters of the authority, and most worked on the 11th floor, NBC10.com reported. They bought the winning ticket at one of the city's biggest commuter train stations across the street from their office. The owner of the newsstand inside The Gallery that sold the ticket got a $100,000 bonus check Thursday from the Pennsylvania Lottery.
They range from secretaries to managers.
Williams said word of the win started spreading shortly after 2 p.m. when one of the members of the lottery pool checked the numbers.
"It was very exciting," Williams said. "We're very happy for them. It couldn't have been a nicer group of people."
For now, it's also an anonymous group of people. Williams said the pool members do not want their names revealed.
A Powerball spokeswoman confirmed there was only one winning ticket, but said the identity of the winner had not yet been verified. The Powerball website said the winning ticket was from Pennsylvania.
"They've worked together for years," co-worker Jeff Coppedge, who knows some of the winners, told NBC10's Denise Nakano. "They were on the same floor or if someone got a different job on another floor, the core members kept pooling their money together."
Coppedge says they deserved to hit the jackpot. "Yeah, they do need a break. They're right at retirement or they've been hanging on."
"I hear one of the guys has three kids just coming out of college," Williams said. "And he definitely said it's nice to know the tuition bills will be paid. He was pretty happy about that."
This artcle includes reporting from Philadelphia's NBC10.com and Reuters.
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