COVINA, CA - MARCH 30: A woman fills out a Mega Millions lottery ticket form at Liquorland on March 30, 2012 in Covina, California The Mega Millions jackpot has reached a high of $640 million before the drawing tonight. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Co-workers split jackpot, become millionaires
01:56 - Source: CNN

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The 20 co-workers will each get $12.7 million

They have been playing in an office lottery pool for eight years

CNN  — 

Cough up that $5 the next time a colleague asks you to join the office lottery pool.

It paid off – literally – for a group of co-workers in Tennessee who’ve been playing for eight years.

The 20 employees from North American Stamping in Portland woke up Sunday morning to the news they’d won a Powerball jackpot of nearly $420.9 million. CNN affiliate WTVF was at the Tennessee Lottery Headquarters on Tuesday when they shared their story.

Amy O’Neal, who started the pool with her co-workers all those years ago, said that she was making coffee when her son saw on TV that the winning ticket was purchased in their town of Lafayette.

“I had to look again because I thought, ‘I’m in a dream,’” she said. “My husband had to look. I looked again.”

It was early, but she immediately started to call her co-workers. All 20 gathered at her home, where they decided to take the lump sum, which ends up being $254.7 million.

That means they each get $12.7 million.

What will they do with their newfound wealth? One of them, Carmen Davis, is buying her mother a car so she can easily get to and from chemotherapy. Another, Billy Taylor, is going to help his four kids financially.

A third, Kevin Southerland, noted specifically that he’s not doing what some people assume, which is to quit his job at North American Stamping.

“I’ve worked there 13 years; it’s a great company,” he said. “They’ve been good to me.”