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Long Beach Waitress Hits Lotto Jackpot for $21.5 Million

She plans to buy a home for her children.

Patricia Eisel thanks the post-Christmas blizzard for her riches.

A waitress at The Saloon on West Beech Street, Eisel had tickets to travel to her native Ireland, but the late December storm snowed her in. Days later, on Jan. 5, she used tip money to play Lotto and won $21.5 million. 

“If I got out I wouldn’t have bought the ticket,” Eisel, 40, said during a press conference at the Garden City Hotel on Thursday. “I wouldn’t have been home. It’s karma.”

Eisel played a combination of six numbers that included her birthday: 4 – 6 – 11 – 18 – 20 – 33. She was cleaning clothes at a West End laundromat when she decided to check her numbers.

“My heart was pumping so fast that I didn’t know what to think,” Eisel said when she found her numbers matched.   

She called her friend, left her clothes behind at the laundry mat, picked up her three young children, and two hours later remembered to pick up her laundry. “Their laundry didn’t get folded, it just got thrown in the bag,” she laughed.  

Eisel claimed her prize at the New York State Lottery's Customer Service Center in Garden City on Jan. 18, and she and several other lesser lottery winners displayed their oversized checks at the Garden City Hotel on Jan. 27. Eisel opted for a one-time lump sum payment that, after withholdings, will net her  $7.9 million.

“She’s had to struggle monthly to support her children,” said her attorney Dorothy Going. “So this is just a God send.”

Eisel move to the United States in 1995 and settled in Long Beach six years later, after which she got a job at The Saloon in her West End neighborhood. 

“She has no money,” Going said. “She waitresses and babysits to feed her kids.”

Eisel buys lottery tickets once a week, occasionally remembers to check her numbers unless there is an especially big pot, and doesn’t superstitiously play particular numbers each week.  

Meanwhile, she has kept relatively quiet about her winnings. She has yet to tell her mother and children, and even the storeowner who sold her the winning ticket.

“She was here just before but she didn’t mention anything to me,” said Max Eshaghi, who owns both Sand Castle Fine Wines & Spirits, where Eisel bought her ticket, and the adjacent laundry mat that she frequents. Eshaghi noted that he only learned of her good luck from a salesperson on Tuesday.

Eisel hopes her mother doesn’t find out before she visits her soon, this time on her own dime. “I don’t want to give her a heart attack,” Eisel said about her delay.   

Eventually, too, she’ll have to break the news to her sons. What will she tell them? “I don’t know: ‘Mommy won some money and we’re gonna be OK,” she said.

She does know that her first big purchase will be a home for her children, but she hasn't give much thought to where she will move. She doesn’t drive, so she’s not planning on buying a car, but a trip to Disney World may be in her future.

She plans to continue to work at The Saloon, at least for a little while longer, because she considers her customers and her boss to be family.

“I’m going to be a full-time mom, but I don’t want my customers to think I left because I done this,” she said in her still heavy Irish brogue. “There’s enough people at the bar that need the shifts, too. I just want to do it to be close to family. Just to be there and see them.”

Eisel will also continue to play Lotto. In fact, she played again on Wednesday, when it was snowing.  

“You have to play when it snows,” she quipped.

Admittedly, she hasn’t checked her ticket yet to see if she won.

Christine Sampson (Editor) January 28, 2011 at 12:28 AM
Amazing. This is like something out of a movie! I wish Ms. Eisel nothing but the happiest ending to this story.
Goingplaces January 28, 2011 at 01:18 AM
Beautiful! It is so great to hear and the fact that she has two small children and has been struggling, makes it so deserving. I wish her the very best!
Eddie January 28, 2011 at 01:28 AM
Hope this full-time mom is in the United States legally. Otherwise, Uncle Sam will be looking for LOTS more than just the taxes. Congratulations Patricia. Most of the other Lotto winners announced today are illegal aliens.
Jesezebel January 28, 2011 at 01:50 AM
I am so happy for Eisel’s blessings because God truly bless her for being a resilient single mom raising her 3 children alone and worked very hard to simply give them the basic necessities like food, shelter and the daily chores and obligation to love and protect them. In 1993 I was single mother of two children and had to moved to Long Beach due to an abusive marriage. I focused on going back to school and worked hard to raise my kids and Long Beach is a very healing place for me and my children. The beach, boardwalk and the neighborhood makes anyone feel welcome. My kids are now out of college and living on their own and they turn out to be great human being with honesty and integrity. I recently have to moved to East Meadow temporarily because I lost my job and my home due to the economy. I missed my adopted town Long Beach. I am grateful for Eisel's story because it gave me a sense of hope and motivation to get back on my feet and start over again. I will buy Lotto tomorrow, hey you’ll never know Saloon in Long Beach here I come back lol.
Elizabeth Treston February 01, 2011 at 06:32 PM
How exciting!!!
Lucy Centeno February 02, 2011 at 04:36 PM
I am happy for her and her family. I just hope that she knows the vulchers come out in all kinds of disguises. Take care of yourself and your family and DO NOT become a personal LOAN company for hangers on. You see, sometimes people mistake your friendship for more than that. A trip to Disney would be great! A trip to Ireland would be great! A trip to NO DEBT would be the GREATEST and enjoying the rest of your life would be the ULTIMATE GOAL. Love your kids and enjoy your life, tomorrow is never promised, so live in the moment! God Bless.
Donna Pisacano Brown February 02, 2011 at 06:16 PM
WOW! How exciting to see a local single Mom and her family win BIG!!! What a life changing experience!!! Can't imagine what it must feel like ... but it is such a blessing, especially in today's economic times. So let the shock wear off and the reality sink in ... find a good financial planner ... put away for your future ... and as Lucy, stated in her comment above, beware of those who will come knocking at your door asking for money because ... they will come. Congrats and God Bless!
DB Karron February 03, 2011 at 08:50 PM
So what happened if you are a rich Illegal ? Seems contradictory, but just like ICE. Maazal Tove to Ms. Eisel!

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