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Iowa City Couple Wins Big Playing "The Silver Ticket"

Justin Eden and Christina Johnson Win Top Prize of $25,000 Playing "The Silver Ticket" Scratch Game

Justin Eden and Christina Johnson   Hear their story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - An Iowa City man and his girlfriend said they'll get to take a much-needed vacation after winning the top prize of $25,000 playing the lottery's "The Silver Ticket" instant-scratch game.

Justin Eden, 35, and his girlfriend, Christina Johnson, 28, said they'd only played The Silver Ticket a few times and were shocked to uncover the top prize.

"This is the first time I've won anything on the ticket," Johnson said.

Eden, who farms, said when he saw that they'd won the top prize, he couldn't believe it.

"I thought she was kidding me, too. I said, 'No, you're lying to me,'" he said.

They took the ticket back to the retailer to make sure what they were seeing was right.

"The lady told me it was real and I just started crying and I was hugging her. She was just so excited for me," Johnson said.

The couple said they've both told their families the good news. Johnson said they all jokingly ask to borrow money, but are very excited for the two of them.

The couple plan to use some of the winnings to pay bills as well as take a trip to Hawaii. Johnson, who is a homemaker, also wants to give a share to her grandparents as an anniversary gift.

"Bless their hearts. They've been married for 57 years and I'm going to give them a thousand dollars for their anniversary. It's going to be a big surprise to them," Johnson said.

Eden and Johnson claimed their prize Monday at the Iowa Lottery's headquarters in Des Moines. Johnson purchased the winning ticket at Hawkeye Convenience Store, 2875 Commerce Drive in Iowa City.

"I've never won this much money before; I've never had this much money just handed to me. It's awesome," she said.