DOWNERS GROVE – When DuPage Inn waitress Connie Licona scratched off her lottery ticket after a shift on Wednesday, she was pretty excited about what she thought was a $4,000 winner.
Then one of her coworkers took a second look at the $20 ticket.
"She said, 'Connie you gotta sit down for a minute,'" Licona recalled on Friday. "She said, 'You won $4 million.'
"I almost fell. I couldn't believe it."
The Glen Ellyn resident took the $4 million winner to her brother's house in Lombard to celebrate that evening, and called off for her next shift on Friday. But she said on Monday she'll be back at the bar and restaurant to work with her friends.
"So many people called me asking, 'Are you quitting, are you quitting?'" she said. "No, I'm not quittin'."
The 51-year-old opted to take a one-time pay out of $1.68 million instead of an annual payment of $140,000. She said that will allow her to help out her four children, her siblings and her mom more quickly.
"It hasn't even sunk in yet," she said. "I think it'll sink in when I see that check."
She plans to buy a house for one of her daughters who is a single mom, and help out her other three children financially in other ways. For her mom, a new car; for her sister; a condo. The rest, she plans to invest, possibly in real estate, she said, though she wants to consult a financial adviser first.
Licona has worked at the Downers Grove business for about six years, she said, but it only started offering lottery tickets about a year ago. In that time, she's seen a few people win a thousand dollars, but not nothing approaching her luck this week.
Licona said she hasn't yet contemplated any "fun" spending.
"I have not even thought of one thing that I want to buy for myself," she said. "I'm not worried about me. I'm worried about my family."
The DuPage Inn also gets a 1 percent cut of the $4 million, which is $40,000. Manager Chris Boulougouris said the funds will probably go to a combination of regular bills and possible renovation projects that have not yet been decided upon.