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Powerball winner picks up tab for restaurant, still shops at Walmart

By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   June 13, 2013 at 5:25 PM  |  Updated June 14, 2013 at 8:49 AM   |   Comments

June 13 (UPI) -- Despite winning the single-largest jackpot in Powerball lottery history, Glora MacKenzie hasn't gone on a huge spending spree.

MacKenzie, 84, is still eating at local restaurants and shopping at Walmart. And her 57-year-old son Scott, with whom she is splitting the $278 million payout, is stil driving her around in his old Ford Focus.

Mother and son are planning on getting a new home together, along with Scott's boyfriend Jerry Cruz.

"Scott wanted to move in with his mom because he was worried about how she would cope on her own," said Ella MacKenzie, Scott MacKenzie's ex-wife, with whom the family is still close.

Gloria MacKenzie lived in a trailer in tiny Zephyrhillis, Fla., with her husband Ralph for 25 years. After his death in 2005, her dwindling resources forced her to move into a run-down bungalow last year.

The MacKenzies, along with Cruz, were spotted eating at a Joe's Crab Shack in Jacksonville on Sunday. And Monday, mother and son shopped at Walmart and enjoyed a meal at Crazy Egg cafe, where the most expensive item on the menu was $10.99

But the newly wealthy octogenarian hasn't completely eschewed spending her fortune. While waiting for her new home with her son -- a luxury home in Jacksonville -- to be ready, MacKenzie has been staying in a luxury hotel.

And rumor has it MacKenzie may have treated an entire restaurant full of people to dinner at BuddyFreddy's in Plant City.

"It sure looked like her," said Stephanie Reaves, the restaurant's manager. "She looked like the woman on TV."

Reaves said the woman ate with a younger man and another woman around 4 p.m. Sunday, left, and then returned and offered to pay for 180 diners.

"Everybody got up an applauded and started hugging her," Reaves said. "In my 35 years in the restaurant industry, I've never seen anything like it."

The total bill came to $2,600, plus Reaves said the woman gave a $50 to each of the five servers.

The woman reportedly denied being Gloria MacKenzie, Reaves said, "but she sure fit the description."

Follow @gabbilevy and @UPI on Twitter.
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