Newest million dollar man lives in Manitowaning

MANITOWANING––James Gee of Manitowaning said he thought the clerk at the Mac’s Milk store where he and his family went to check a scratch and win ticket on Boxing Day must have thought she was in for trouble, as two full carloads of excited family members descended on her store.

“The Mac’s store was the only place open on Boxing Day,” laughed Mr. Gee, who was visiting with his daughter and son-in-law Chris and Dean Seitz in Norwich for Christmas when he made the amazing discovery. His son-in-law had played Santa, leaving a package of lottery tickets in each family member’s stocking. When Mr. Gee scratched his Instant 100 $Million$ Extravaganza ticket, he took more than a few double takes.

Mr. Gee said that he read the instructions on the back of the ticket, then had his grandsons read the instructions, and then they passed the ticket over to his son-in-law.

“You don’t want to get too carried away in case it is some kind of mistake,” he said. “This is the kind of thing that always happens to other people.”

There was nothing for it but to gather up the clan, pile into the cars and head down to the only place in Norwich that could settle the matter. So before noon on Christmas Day, the Gee (and Seitz) families were at the Mac’s Milk in Norwich. “We checked the self-checker machine first, but we still couldn’t believe it was true,” he said. But the machine was adamant, reading “Big Win. $1 million.”

“Then we all headed for the counter with big grins on our faces,” recalled Mr. Gee.

A few moments later, “The lottery machine shuts down and they have to wait for the head office to call and verify everything before they turn the machines back on from there,” he said. “They couldn’t process anything else on the machine until the call came through.”

Then it was a quick trip down to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) offices in Toronto to collect the cheque and get their pictures taken.

When it came to deciding what to do with the money it didn’t take long, but Mr. Gee had a bit of an advantage there. He works for RS2000 in the income tax field. “We have a sister company that deals in investments,” he said. “I had the inside track on that end of it.”

As to what they are going to do with the money, it is already done. “We’ve taken care of it,” said Mrs. Gee. The couple divided money up with their children and set aside a “bit for ourselves.”

Mrs. Gee has a medical condition that will likely engender some medical expenses down the line and the win will provide a welcome retirement buffer. Mr. Gee, 69, was already planning his retirement when the scratch ticket was revealed, but he was still working at his office when contacted by The Expositor.

A million dollars may seem like a lot of money, but when you spread it out, and look at it through financial reality, it is easier to maintain a balance.

“You know, if you are a young family, looking ahead with kids to put through school, it doesn’t go as far as you might think,” he said. “But we are a bit older and don’t have a lot of expenses now.” Still, the Gees do have 13 grandchildren to consider spoiling.

As for travelling, Mrs. Gee was a bit ambivalent. “We just got back from Mexico a couple of weeks before Christmas,” she said.

Mr. Gee summed up his Christmas stocking win with a famous seasonal quote, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

Michael Erskine