CLEVELAND - Heidi Briggs returned to the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland Thursday night. Her last stop here proved very profitable.
The high school guidance counselor from New Philadelphia was eating at the casino buffet Saturday night with her husband when the casino held its first of three $1 million giveaways this summer.
"You kind of have this glimmer of hope you know everybody does," she recalled sitting in the very seat she was sitting when she thought she heard the announcer say her name.
As the couple went through the "Did I just hear what I think I heard?" phase, they said it again "Heidi Briggs".
"I think I stood up, I sat down, I stood up. I didn't know what to do it was just, I couldn't believe it was true," Briggs said.
A casino manager asked if she was indeed Heidi, when she said yes "he said there's our million dollar winner and then everybody in here just started cheering yelling my name," she said. "It was just like a dream."
It was real, $1 million real. While she filled out paperwork, her husband called the couple's two adult daughters to share the news.
"They first thought he was pulling their leg," she said.
The next morning she was scheduled to drive her 90-year old mother to church.
"I thought 'Oh what if someone from back home was at the casino and knows and says something and I haven't told her first."
Luckily she was the one able to break the news. "She was just ecstatic. She just couldn't believe it."
What this high school guidance counselor spent the past week doing was seeking counsel. The best advice?
"Take time, think about it, pray about it, don't make any rush decisions and so I think that's good advice."
The ever effervescent Briggs did get emotional at one point when she shared that earlier in the day she was able to pay off her mortgage.
A high roller she and her husband are not, they enjoy coming to the Horseshoe and to ThistleDown Racino for the atmosphere, the people watching and to play the slots: penny, two cent and nickel slots to be exact.
That's something that won't change with her good fortune. What also won't change is her work schedule. She starts a new job in two weeks with a different school in New Philadelphia.
"I thought I better call my superintendent," said Briggs letting them know that she's still coming. "The high school secretary said she was a little bit worried."
The casino will give its next million dollars away on Aug. 10 at 9 p.m. to a Total Rewards card member who swipes their player loyalty card at either Horseshoe or ThistleDown between July 21 and Aug. 10.
The third million will be awarded Sept. 1.