FLOOD OF JOY: Capella Agencies owner Geoff Braun and his team have broken their drought of non-winners in the best possible way, with a couple scratching their way to a $500,000 fortune. jk-010302-003

FOR one Central Highlands couple, romance was an itch that required an Instant Scratch-Its almost every day.

That small display of affection resulted in a life-changing stroke of luck recently with the mystery pair scooping the $500,000 top prize on a $12 Mega Puzzler ticket.

The ticket was purchased at Capella Agencies and the couple, who has asked to remain anonymous, said they were in total “disbelief” as a five-cent coin kept scratching off letter after winning letter.

“No, I thought there must have been a misprint,” one said when asked if they could believe their eyes.

“I kept telling my partner it wasn’t a winning ticket.

“I didn’t believe it until the prize money cleared into my bank account.”

But staff at the newsagency knew differently as they watched the pair scratch away outside the shop and then approach them with that look of incredulity, shock and hope.

All winnings over $5000 must be paid out by Golden Casket Lottery Corporation’s Queensland head office in Brisbane.

“They bought the ticket and were sitting on the bench and came back inside to confirm it was a winner,” said Capella Agencies’ Geoff Braun.

“They weren’t yahooing or anything like that.

“They just took it in their stride and walked out in the end, probably not believing they had won.

“They’re people who are not well off if you like.

“They don’t work in the mines, they’re not on big incomes and I understand they have spent the money wisely.”

Prior to their amazing windfall, the couple said the largest amount they had ever won on a scratchie was the now paltry sum of $35.

The answer to why they walked into the newsagency on that fateful day was they were walking an all-too familiar path.

“We’ve been buying scratchies for about eight years now,” the woman said.

“This was a gift from my partner – he buys me an Instant Scratch-Its ticket almost every day.”

The couple never considered themselves lucky before this, and described themselves as two people who “both have worked hard to make ends meet”.

They said their biggest life-changing moment had been having grandchildren.

Now, having shared their secret with family and close friends, they have splurged on a new car and invested the rest of the winnings wisely.

“It has made some of our dreams come true,” the woman said.

“Yes, I will help family and friends, and my partner said he will continue to buy me an Instant Scratch-Its ticket every day.”

Mr Braun said the win had got the monkey off the back of Capella Agencies, which had suffered from a reputation for not selling the “big ones”.

“It’s a good feeling to know, and it’s good for the image of the place,” Mr Braun said with a chuckle.

“It was always a joke in here, not a serious jibe, that we don’t sell winning tickets.

“Now they can’t say that.”

While the Mega Puzzler may have had a huge impact on the lives of our local winners, a 50-metre square version scratched off in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall last month is also aiming for its place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s biggest scratch ticket.

“Golden Casket is expecting an official ruling from Guinness World Records on its world record attempt in about three months,” public relations manager Elissa Lewis said.

“Our fingers are crossed.”

“This was a gift from my partner – he buys me an Instant Scratch-Its ticket almost every day.”

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