Winner, winner

One lucky city resident received the surprise of a lifetime Thursday. “It really does happen. You are real,” Michelle Curtis said after being given the shock of winning $10,000. Shortly after 10 a.m. Danielle Lam of the Publishers Clearing House’s Prize Patrol knocked on Curtis’ door.

“This is a totally random drawing. This is a very, very lucky lady,” Lam said.

The Prize Patrol knocked on Curtis’ Ruggles Street residence to present a check for $10,000 which she won through a PCH contest on Facebook. Curtis said she was still sleeping and answered the door in pajamas and was in shock. At first, she did not believe it was real.

“I just woke up. It’s been about seven years of entering (PCH contests) and never thought I’d win,” she said.

Curtis was even so shocked to see the prize patrol show up to her house, she said she was hesitant to open the door.

“I was real leery to come out. It took a while for me to come outside,” Curtis said.

With the prize money she said she would like to pay off some bills, help out her children and even pay for an out-of-state nephew to visit; Curtis said she has not seen her nephew in almost seven years. Curtis was presented with the real check, a larger cardboard check in addition to flowers and balloons from Flowers by Anthony on Lake Shore Drive. If Curtis were to not have been home Thursday, PCH would have tried to track her down at work or had a neighbor call her to return home. If those attempts were unsuccessful, PCH would have sent Curtis a check by mail. She said if she received a check in the mail she would have tossed it away.

“If it just came in the mail, I would have never believed it was real. I would have thrown it in the garbage,” she said.

After reality set in that she had won, Curtis called a neighbor to share the good news. Jamie Gatton, a good friend and neighbor, came down the street to see what was going on. She said when Curtis had called she could not comprehend what Curtis was saying except for “Publishers Clearing House” over and over, and screaming.

“I thought she was kidding at first. I came right over,” Gatton said.

Curtis said she was excited to get dressed and go to the bank. She also said she plans to frame the big cardboard check and hang it up on her wall.

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