People who win hundreds of thousands of dollars in the lottery sometimes opt to quit working.
Not Jennifer Elrod.
For the four years since her last child was born, the Summerville-area woman has stayed home to mind her two youngsters.
But with the $1 million she won in a scratch-off drawing last month, Elrod plans to pay for after-school day care, then return to the job market.
“I’m a worker,” the stay-at-home mother said as she urged her 8-year-old to complete homework and hushed her youngest during an interview Wednesday. “I don’t like to sit at home when my children are at school.”
Elrod, 32, has not decided on what career field she will pursue — “just something with health benefits,” she said.
Taxes may whittle down her winnings to $680,000, but Elrod still relishes being called a millionaire, she said.
She wept when she heard she had won the money Nov. 19 in the S.C. Education Lottery’s Diamond Millionaire Second-Chance Promotion. Her $10 scratch-off ticket for the Diamond Millionaire 10th anniversary game was a losing one at first, but it was randomly chosen from more than 1 million entries in a follow-up drawing.
In addition to the child-care service, Elrod will purchase a trip to Germany next year to visit her husband’s relatives. They also aim to pay off their home mortgage.
Her big win also served as a little vindication: Her husband has been a longtime detractor of spending money on lottery tickets.
Mike Elrod fielded the call from his wife as he worked his own job at MilliCare, a textile- and carpet-cleaning service. He thought something was wrong at first, and he found her good fortune difficult to believe until she had the check in hand.
“I get on to her for playing the lottery,” he said in a statement. “I’ve never bought a ticket.”
And this Christmas isn’t the first that has been a little sweeter because of Jennifer Elrod’s small gambles.
In the days before her Dec. 13 birthday last year, she scored $500 with a $2 scratch-off ticket.
In spite of the padded bank account, she will spend a simple holiday at home with her loved ones.
“Christmas is good again this year,” she said. “It was a one-in-a-million thing.”
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.