shadow

Powerball winner? Mystery woman picks up tab for 180 diners.

Powerball winner may have been the woman who picked up the tab for 180 patrons at a Florida restaurant. The woman denied she was the winner of a $590 Powerball jackpot earlier this month. 

Steve Cannon/AP/File
Powerball winner Gloria C. Mackenzie, leaves the lottery office escorted by her son Scott Mackenzie, right, after claiming a single lump-sum payment of about $370.9 million earlier this month in Tallahassee, Fla. A woman who picked up the tab for diners at a Florida restaurant Sunday afternoon denied being the Powerball winner, but the restaurant's manager said she bore a striking resemblance to Mackenzie.

A mystery woman who many said resembled the Florida woman who recently won the $590 million Powerball jackpot picked up the tab for 180 diners at a Plant City restaurant on Sunday afternoon.

Stephanie Reaves, manager of BuddyFreddy's restaurant, said a woman bearing a striking resemblance to Gloria C. MacKenzie — the 84-year-old Zephyrhills woman who took a lump-sum payment of about $370.9 million on June 5 — paid about $2,600 to cover the cost of meal. She even left $50 tips for each of the five servers on duty.

"Everybody got up and applauded and started hugging her," said Reaves told the Tampa Bay Times (http://bit.ly/11yyp7o ). "In my 35 years in the restaurant industry, I've never seen anything like it."

Reaves said the woman was accompanied by another woman and a man. When asked, the donor said she was not the Powerball winner.

"It sure looked like her," Reaves added. "She looked like the woman on TV."

MacKenzie bought a ticket for May 18 Powerball drawing at a Publix supermarket in Zephyrhills, which is north of Plant City. It was the largest undivided jackpot in U.S. history. She took her prize in a lump-sum payment of just over $370 million. After federal taxes, she received about $278 million.

The retiree from Maine, who has four children, did not speak to the media when she claimed the prize in Tallahassee.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.