Infinite Energy hopes to change someone’s life by giving away $100,000 each year at its holiday party. This year’s grand-prize winner Jean Richardson had won $5,000 just a few minutes earlier. Then her name was called again. She traded in her original prize for the biggest award of the night: $50,000. The following interview has been edited.
What is your position at Infinite Energy, and how long have you been here?
I’m an accountant, and I’ve been here for 11 years.
Did you think this was your year?
When you’re there, you get excited for everyone. Everyone’s sitting on the edge of their seats. I didn’t think I was going to win, but I always hope. It’s funny because we have a team meeting every first of the month, and I had gotten a haircut, and someone said, “Oh I like your haircut.” And I said, “I need a new style for when I get up to win the $50,000.” And I was just joking.
What were you thinking when you heard your name?
I didn’t have any thoughts. Every year I say, “OK, if I win, I’m going to get up there and say this, this and this.” And all of that just went away. Friday night, I was tossing and turning, just thinking “I can’t believe it,” “What did I say,” “What did I do.” It was just a big rush.
Who was the first person you told?
My son. I texted him. He didn’t believe me. He said, “No, you’re kidding.” So someone took my picture with the check, and then I sent it to him.
Have you thought about what you want to do with the money?
It’s all I’ve been thinking about. I always try to help my kids out as much as I can, with their education and whatever they need. Also, I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland, so I’ll probably put some money away so it will be there when I’m ready and my family can go. And of course, I have bills.
How are you feeling now that you’ve had some time to process it?
I really appreciate the opportunity to work for Infinite Energy and everything Darin and Rich do for all the employees. It’s a once in a lifetime blessing. I just want to treasure it.