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Starbucks Manager Mary Champaine Discusses Winning $87M California Lottery

Aired October 25, 2000 - 2:18 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The employees of the Starbucks coffee house in central L.A. consider themselves a close-knit bunch, an extended family, even.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: They're even a little bit closer today. This lucky group of 13 also is a whole lot richer. They will share in last weekend's $87 million California Super Lotto Plus jackpot.

ALLEN: That windfall would not have been possible without the efforts of store manager Mary Champaine. And Mary joins us this hour from Los Angeles to tell us all about it.

Hi there, Mary. How are you holding up?

MARY CHAMPAINE, LOTTERY WINNER: I'm doing fine. How are you doing out there in Atlanta?

ALLEN: Oh, we're fine. Not as fine as you today, however. Tell us the story, Mary. You don't normally play the Lotto, is that right? but you decided to go out and buy all of your employees a Lotto ticket.

CHAMPAINE: Because it was $87 million and we thought, well, why not try. And we just went out, put a dollar in for each employee, and we had two employees that weren't here that day, so I -- that's when I put their $2 in, and, believe it or not, the winning numbers came up and we won.

ALLEN: And how did it feel when you realized you won? And how did it feel to share it with your employees who've been there with you through thick and thin at that Starbucks, that they were rich?

CHAMPAINE: Feels fantastic to be able to help and to change somebody's life. When I -- you know, a lot of them, you know, they're young, they don't have a lot of money and there's a lot of things that you want to do for them at time and you can't -- I can't do it myself. But to be able to share with them makes me feel fantastic.

WATERS: Mary, we understand that this $1 that each put in you put in yourself. You bought the Lotto tickets, did you not?

CHAMPAINE: Yes.

WATERS: And you would have or could have had the option of claiming the prize yourself, could you not?

CHAMPAINE: Yes, but...

WATERS: And why didn't you?

CHAMPAINE: Because they have been with me through thick and thin. I started this store and this is one of the Magic Johnson stores. And Magic and Starbucks have a special agreement. And it's special because nobody else can do this but Magic. And we here at Starbucks work as a team and we support one another. And if I would have taken all the money, then I wouldn't have been part of the team and everything that I've been working for would be nothing.

ALLEN: Can you comprehend today how different your life is likely to be now?

WATERS: Or will it be different?

CHAMPAINE: No, I have -- for me, no. I'm kind of old-fashioned. I'm from a small town so I won't go out and buy a Mercedes.

WATERS: What will you go out and buy?

CHAMPAINE: Don't laugh at me: I'm going to buy my dining room set and a china hutch so I can put all my crystal and china in it...

WATERS: Nothing to laugh at there.

ALLEN: I like that.

CHAMPAINE: ... something I've wanted for many, many years.

WATERS: Yes.

CHAMPAINE: Yes.

WATERS: And you're going to stay at Starbucks?

CHAMPAINE: Yes, I'm going to stay at Starbucks for a while. They've done so much for me, being part of this team. I'm going to be here.

ALLEN: Do you think you might buy a few Starbucks for yourself to operate now?

CHAMPAINE: You know what, I have to talk to Magic and see if I can get part of his team. I'm looking forward to doing something like that. That would be fantastic.

WATERS: Have you got a lot of people knocking on your door today, a lot of new friends, people wanting to sell you things, that kind of thing going on? We know you got a lot of media lined up wanting to talk to you.

CHAMPAINE: I've got more business cards than I can imagine.

ALLEN: What about the regular customers? Are they dropping by today to give you the thumbs up?

CHAMPAINE: You know, my regular customers are -- I've been hugged so much my ribs are sore. They're fantastic. They're fantastic people. They come in every morning, we take care of them and they take care of us.

WATERS: So you got -- have you got cameramen lined up behind our cameramen? I mean, are you getting tired of talking about this?

CHAMPAINE: I've talked so much that my lips are sticking together.

(LAUGHTER)

CHAMPAINE: Yes, it's been awesome.

WATERS: Well, you're having what your -- what Andy Warhol called your 15 minutes of fame, Mary. We're very happy for you, and we appreciate you taking the time to spend a little of it with us.

ALLEN: Thanks, Mary.

CHAMPAINE: Oh, it's my pleasure. Thank you very much. And you have a beautiful day.

ALLEN: Thanks.

WATERS: You too.

ALLEN: Hey, nice to see people like that, Lou.

WATERS: She's quite the person. Someone told me a story -- who was it? One of our producers said that Mary, during the bus strike out in L.A. -- they had that transit strike out there -- most of their customers ride the bus and weren't able to. Mary went out and picked up people, brought them in.

ALLEN: That's our kind of gal.

WATERS: She's quite a lady.

ALLEN: Need more like her.

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