$1-Million Winner : What's in a Name? Barbara Lucky Knows

Community Correspondent

Barbara Lucky has lived up to her last name. Again.

Although she never before won a prize, the Rancho Palos Verdes attorney has the financial good fortune to have a hillside house with a wine cellar, a view of the Pacific and two Mercedes autos parked outside.

Last weekend, her pass-the-time effort of scratching the coating off McDonald's game cards paid off. Lucky won a cool $1 million from the giant hamburger chain.

Her normal self-control evaporated when her name was announced before television cameras at a McDonald's store in the City of Industry.

"It's me! It's me!" she screamed after Lakers forward Kurt Rambis drew her name.

A Kiss for Rambis

Lucky pushed her way through the crowd of other finalists. She dashed forward to give Rambis a kiss. She almost knocked him down.

"He never got hit that hard by the Celtics," said husband Fred, who also is an attorney.

When Barbara Lucky learned that she was one of 30 finalists, she and her husband dreamed about how they would spend the money if she won. Because both have been successful in their careers, they had no need for a nicer house, a new car or fancy vacation.

In an interview in the newly dug wine cellar, the couple explained that they had decided to donate part of the winnings to the Ronald McDonald House where the families of children with cancer stay during the children's treatment. The rest will pay for the education of their sons Brandon, 3 1/2, and Ryan, 5 months.

Lucky's route to the million-dollar jackpot began with Brandon's refusal to eat anything for lunch except a hamburger, french fries, a vanilla shake and a diet soda.

Numerous Visits

Lucky, 36, on a lengthy leave from a job with the Long Beach Unified School District, started taking Brandon to lunch at the McDonald's on Silver Spur Road and Crenshaw Boulevard in Rolling Hills Estates "four or five times a week."

"They know us real well," she said.

Although she had collected the game cards for months, it was not until May 15, while Brandon dawdled over his burger, that an impatient Lucky bothered to scratch the coating off all of the cards in her purse.

One card said she won a hamburger and fries. She looked at the number board in the restaurant. Another card--with the number 5,000--matched the 5,000 on the board. She told the crew.

"They went wild," she said.

Insured Card, Mailed It

She sent the card in the mail--after insuring it for $30. Restaurant officials had told her she would get at least that much.

The Mailgram and phone call announcing that she was a finalist came June 3. She had a chance to win $1 million or, as a consolation prize, 30 shares of McDonald's stock.

"I intended to give 15 shares to each son so they could grow up watching their stock" in newspaper listings, she said.

The prize money will come in installments--$33,333 a year for 30 years.

The Luckys said the money will not change their life style

"It is not what it sounds like. What is nice is that it creates sort of a safety net. You never know what is going to happen in the future," Fred Lucky said.

'Sense of Security'

Said his wife: "If something ever happened to us, there would be something for our children. It has given us a tremendous sense of security."

While the Luckys concede they do not need the money, they feel no guilt at winning over some who need it more.

"Our children are deserving as anyone," said Fred Lucky.

Barbara Lucky, who was not a sweepstakes player, has changed her mind. "It made me a believer," she said. "I am going to play all of them from now on."

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