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Buena Vista County Woman Expects $100 Win, Ends Up With Much More

Melinda Smith Wins the Top Prize Playing the "Crossword" Scratch Game

Melinda Smith   Hear Melinda tell her story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A Buena Vista County woman said she couldn't believe she'd won the top prize of $30,000 playing "Crossword" after initially thinking she had won $100.

Melinda Smith, 29, said she must have miscounted the words on her Crossword instant-scratch ticket, because she thought she was going to the convenience store to collect $100 in winnings.

"She ran it through the machine and just kind of looked at me funny and said, 'You're not going to believe this,'" Smith said. "She said, 'You won thirty thousand.' And I said, 'No way!'"

Smith, who is from Albert City, said she couldn't contain her excitement in the convenience store.

"I started jumping up and down and screaming and crying. I cried for like ten minutes in the gas station," she said.

Smith has told her parents and siblings the good news about her win. She said while her dad was skeptical, everyone has been very excited for her.

"I don't think my dad believed me at first because he said, 'Have somebody else double-check because I don't want you to get all excited over nothing,'" Smith joked.

Smith, who is a cashier at Sparky's One Stop in Albert City, said she didn't really believe she'd won until she claimed her prize Monday at the Iowa Lottery's regional office in Storm Lake.

"It didn't even seem real. I knew I'd won; I'd been looking at the ticket in my hand, but until they gave me the big check, now it really seems real," Smith said.

Smith said she'll probably switch to a different scratch game now. She plans to use some of her winnings to pay bills as well as start a savings account for her son.

"I'm just going to be able to sleep better now; to be more at peace in my head," she said.

Smith purchased her winning ticket at Crossroads, 504 Highway 197 in Albert City.