Powerball winner Gloria C. MacKenzie may have been the woman who picked up the tab for 180 patrons at a Florida restaurant, even though the woman denied she was awarded the $590 jackpot earlier this month.
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. “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.