Toronto woman collects $50M Lotto Max jackpot

Sophie Rizavas celebrates her $50-million Lotto Max jackpot at the OLG office in Toronto Tuesday,...

Sophie Rizavas celebrates her $50-million Lotto Max jackpot at the OLG office in Toronto Tuesday, May 13, 2014. (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun)

Terry Davidson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:47 PM ET

TORONTO -- The night before becoming a multimillionaire, a Toronto cleaning woman prayed to Jesus that she and her family would come into "a little bit" of money.

Turns out the Good Lord figured she deserved a lot of it.

Sophie Rizavas, a 63-year-old married grandmother with two grown daughters, discovered Saturday she had won the May 9 $50-million Lotto Max draw. Rizavas, who came to Canada from Greece in 1970, said that when she went to a convenience store that evening to check her ticket, she thought she had won a relatively modest $50,000.

The store operator was just as flummoxed, reckoning she had won an even lower amount: $10,000.

Rizavas stood her ground, insisting it was $50,000. It wasn't until a call from an Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) official that it was made clear her life was about to change.

Rizavas, who for years has worked as a cleaner in hospitals and office buildings, then went home to tell her husband, Tom, an airport limo driver, who was waiting to take her to a Mother's Day dinner with their girls.

One thing Rizavas wants to do with her new-found wealth is something she's been known to do: Help others. It wasn't unusual for the upbeat and affable Rizavas to assist people needing cash by landing them jobs with the cleaning company she worked for.

"On Friday evening, before I went to bed, I have a big icon in my dining room of Jesus, and I went there and I looked at it and I said, "Please, Jesus, do this. I have to help somebody. I don't want a lot of money, just a little bit," Rizavas recalled at the OLG's prize centre in Toronto on Tuesday. "Then I said, 'I'm sorry, I shouldn't pray for money' ... So I went to sleep."

Rizavas said she plans to take Tom, their daughters and the grandkids on a big trip -- something the hardworking family hasn't really had the luxury of doing as of late. She also insists she loves her home, her neighbourhood, and her neighbours, so moving isn't something she has thought about.

"It's quite a coincidence," said Rizavas, who has been playing the lottery casually for years. "My husband and I came to Canada from Greece on May 10, 1970, and 44 years later, (on) May 10, 2014, we find out we are multimillionaires."

Rizavas was presented with a cheque for $5,000,005 -- she also won $5 for matching the first two numbers of her Encore play.

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