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Lottery winner upholds old promise

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ST. CATHARINES, Ont.—As soon as newly-minted millionaire Jorma Hogbacka handed over certified cheques worth $30,000 to two former Tim Hortons’ employees, he got a double-double hug in return.

It took four days, but Hogbacka made good yesterday on an old promise to share his $14.8-million Lotto 6-49 win with a group of former Tim Hortons’ employees in St. Catharines.

Wearing green cotton pants and a red jacket, Hogbacka looked a bit like a jovial elf as he stood in front of a bank in St. Catharines and gave Melissa Grivich, 24, of Welland and Sithorn Chuon, 24, of St. Catharines their slice.

Four more lucky ladies are still out there: Tanya, Jessica, Meredith, and Glenda—all known to Hogbacka only by their first names.

All worked at one Tim Hortons in the city and staff there are working to connect the remaining ladies with the jackpot winner.

“I’m like in absolute shock,” Grivich said just hours before getting her cheque scribbled with the words “Have a nice day.”

“I served coffee, and I guess it just goes to show that customer service is everything and, yeah, I’m just in absolute shock right now.

“It’s crazy. I can’t believe it.”

The impromptu cheque presentation also signals the end of a dream for many Tim’s workers.

More than a dozen women—current and former employees—were trying to find Hogbacka in hopes they were on his gift list.

After picking up his cheque in Toronto on Monday and announcing his intention to share his winnings with five former Tim Hortons employees, the single 60-year-old retired welder spent time with family in Huntsville, Ont.

Hogbacka said he had no idea of the frenzy he left in his wake.

“These ones, I promised it to them and that’s what I’m going to do,” Hogbacka said yesterday morning from Huntsville.

By yesterday afternoon, he was standing at the bank with Grivich and Chuon, both of whom couldn’t stop smiling and hugging Hogbacka.

Chuon, a 24-year-old health-care aide who is married and pregnant, said she plans to use the generous gift towards her newly-purchased house.

Though she hasn’t worked at the coffee shop for about five years, Chuon said she remembers Hogbacka and helped him pick lottery numbers.

Grivich, a newly-married police officer, said she plans to use her windfall to pay off some wedding debt and help her family.

She greeted Hogbacka with a small gift to say thanks: “A small double-double without the trouble,” a catchphrase he used when ordering coffee.

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