SALT LAKE CITY — Prior to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, 56-year-old National Park Service employee Judith Smith got a lottery ticket, according to CNN. But it wasn't just any lottery ticket. It was the winning ticket for the largest Pick-6 jackpot in New Jersey since May 2004: $29.5 million.
Background: Smith's son William Smith purchased the lottery ticket from Eddy’s Wines & Liquors in Bayonne with Judith Smith's $5, according to the New York Post.
The ticket was purchased just in time for the lottery drawing on Dec. 17, 2018, for a prize of $29.5 million, according to CNN.
According to USA Today, Judith Smith was furloughed during the government shutdown that ended in January.
"This dedicated worker was waiting along with her colleagues through days of being furloughed without pay and an uncertain determination about when this furlough might end," the New Jersey Lottery Commission said in a statement, according to USA Today.
Reactions: William Smith said he called his sister Sarah to check the numbers on the ticket, the New York Post reported.
"I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me," William Smith told the New York Post.
Sarah Smith said the family was "super excited," and William Smith said he recalled his mom asking if she should "even go to work," the New York Post reported.1 comment on this story
After realizing they had the winning ticket, the Smiths kept the ticket in a "safe place" and sought out legal and financial advice in how to claim the prize money, according to The Associated Press.
The family claimed $14 million after taxes, according to CNN, and said they'll use the money to "take care of their family and have a little fun."
The New York Post reports that $3.5 million each will go to William and Sarah Smith, while Judith Smith will keep $7 million. According to the New York Post, Sarah said the family will pay off their credit card debt and is planning a trip to Italy.