Town of Tonawanda woman goes to buy mayo, leaves with $1M lottery ticket

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Town of Tonawanda woman had simply headed out to get some mayonnaise, but ended up buying a lottery ticket that changed her life.

On her lunch break, 44-year-old court officer Nellida Baez-Alvarado went to a Tops store on Niagara St. as she was finishing some errands. There, she planned to buy the condiment, but realized she was running out of time.

“Instead of mayo, I left the store with some scratch-off tickets and went back to work,” the married mother of two said.

On one of the Win $1,000 A Week for Life tickets, Baez-Alvarado won a mere $2. The second one was a different story.

After revealing three “Life” symbols on the ticket, she showed it to a co-worker just to make sure her eyes weren’t deceiving her.

“I was overwhelmed when I saw him look up at me with tears in his eyes,” she said. “I walked downstairs calmly and then dropped to my knees to thank God and my parents for this blessing.”

Baez-Alvarado had won the lottery.

For the next 20 years, Baez-Alvarado will receive $1 million in annual payments of $52,000 (net $34,414).

Baez-Alvarado was “attracted to the idea of not being a mega millionaire.”

“I just hoped to win enough to make life easier,” she said.

What will she do with the money? Baez-Alverado indicated that her family will enjoy the winnings too.

“It’s not about materialistic gain,” she said. “There’s no greater gift for any parent than to see their children happy. This will make a big difference in their futures.”

The New York Lottery says Baez-Alvarado will continue to receive $52,000 a year for life when the threshold is met. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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