Toledo residents go after Powerball jackpot dreams

Lottery ticket sales not as high as expected

Khalid Ahlalay, left, manager at Stop and Go on Monroe Street sells a Powerball ticket to Zadie Smith, right, of Toledo.
Khalid Ahlalay, left, manager at Stop and Go on Monroe Street sells a Powerball ticket to Zadie Smith, right, of Toledo.

Today's winning Powerball numbers were 5, 16, 22, 23, 29, with Powerball number 6. The jackpot in tonight's drawing was $550 million.

Earlier today, Zadie Smith was to be sitting in front of a television, waiting for her Powerball lottery numbers to be called.

Her strategy? One ticket was a machine-generated pick. For the other, she picked her own numbers, using her age, 50; the age of Manager Khalid Ahlalay, 29; of a Blade reporter, 24; a Blade photographer, 41; a young girl in a pink knit hat who grinned when she held up three fingers to show her age; and her son, who is 8.

"This is the winning number, y'all," she said, clutching two tickets in her right hand at Stop & Go at Monroe Street and Upton Avenue. "I'm winning."

Ms. Smith, a life-long Toledo resident, wasn't the only one gearing up for a big potential payout, somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million.

Mr. Ahlalay said he had already purchased tickets for himself, but planned on buying a few more before time was up.

He's going to Frankfurt and Paris next week so the extra cash would be nice.

And, plus, he could bring back some extra souvenirs.

"I'll bring back the big Eiffel Tower," he said. "If you win $500 million, you can get the big one, not the little ones."

Despite the high reward, Matt Opperman, the manager of Ray's Party Store on Main Street in East Toledo, said lottery sales haven't been as high as several months ago when the prize was more than $100 million higher.

"Sales were up last week when it was at $300 million, but since nobody won, I expected it to be more busy than it has been," he said.

Mr. Opperman said he bought one ticket. Just in case.

"I have no expectations," he said.

But, should he win, he'd come back to work. At least for a little while "to be straight with everyone."

Felicia Neal, of Toledo, has worked in housekeeping at Mercy St. Charles Hospital for 13 years. She and four others there pooled their money and bought a few tickets.

If she wins -- she'll be right back at work -- although she'll need some time off for vacation in Jamaica and the Virgin Island.

"I'd say at work. I'm not a home body," she said.

She'd spread some of the wealth around, establishing trust funds for her three grandchildren, who are 7, 1, and 3 months old.

"They'd be comfortable."

Norma Marshall, also of Toledo, hadn't bought her ticket yet, but said she'd be back at Ray's later today when she had some more cash and could buy at least one of the $2 Powerball tickets.

Her dreams of winning include buying a house, a car, and giving her two sons some money. The oldest of 10 children, she said she'd show her siblings a little love, too.