Patricia Eisel had the luck of the Irish with her.
The native of Ireland who has been living in Long Beach won $21.5 million in the Jan. 5 drawing, officials announced Thursday.
Eisel, 40, moved to New York from Ireland in 1995 and had been working as a waitress at the Saloon in Long Beach. She claimed her prize at the lottery's Customer Service Center in Garden City, opting to receive a one-time lump sum payment of $11,975,334. After taxes, she will get $7,907,313.
Eisel bought her winning ticket at Sand Castle Wines and Liquor on Beech Street in Long Beach on Jan. 5 and matched all six numbers: 4, 6, 11, 18, 20, 33.
She said she was doing her laundry when she heard that a local resident had the winning ticket. She decided to check the results from the night before.
"My heart was pumping so fast, I didn't know what to do," Eisel said. "I called my friend and said, 'Call me back! I think I won the lottery.' "
She was one of eight winners awarded a total of $32.5 million in prizes Thursday. Among the other winners was Ricardo Gonzalez, 19, of Mineola. The full-time Nassau Community College student and construction worker won $1 million on the $500-million Extravaganza instant ticket.
Gonzalez bought the winning ticket at a 7-Eleven, his usual hangout spot with his father and co-workers. He plans to buy a new house for his family, he said Thursday.
"I just got lucky," Gonzalez said.
Eisel's brother, Brian Daily, 35, flew from Ireland to be with his sister and take her back to her birthplace.
"I am delighted for her," Daily said. "Life is going to get better for her."
Eisel's mother doesn't know about her daughter's winnings, and neither do her sons, who are in elementary school. Eisel, who plans to become a full-time mom, said she won't tell the boys she won the lottery. Instead, she'll simply tell them their luck has changed.
"Mommy got lucky," said Eisel, "and we are going to have a nice life."