Hamilton-area couple become multi-millionaires with $23.3M lotto win

A Smithville, Ont. couple received a life-changing cheque Wednesday when they claimed a Lotto 649 jackpot worth $23.3 million.

Bob Donaldson has 23 million reasons to forgive his wife Sandra for forgetting to clean up after their dog.

The retired Dofasco manager was heading to China last month and asked her to do two things while he was gone — clean up after the dog and buy their usual lottery ticket.

When she got back, she had good news and bad news. The bad news was she forgot to clean up after the dog. The good news was the Lotto 649 ticket she remembered to buy won a $23,324,912.20 jackpot.

The Smithville, Ont. couple was in Toronto today to pick up their cheque.

It's overwhelming. It's very emotional.- Sandra Donaldson

"I guess I can forgive her for not cleaning up after the dog," Donaldson joked in a statement from the OLG.

"I think over time it will start to sink in, but it's a life changing event," he later told reporters, choking back tears.

"It's overwhelming. It's very emotional," his wife agreed.

The couple has been married for 36 years, and have been buying lottery tickets together for many of them. Donaldson usually buys the tickets, but Sandra, who is a retired personal support worker, picked up a Quick Pick ticket this time for a change. In the end, it was the winner.

Sandra told reporters that she didn't want to tell her husband about the win while he was travelling, so she had to keep it as an agonizing secret for several days.

"I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat," she said.

The couple has two kids and two grandkids (with a third on the way), and say they plan to make sure their family is well taken care of.

Donaldson says they were looking for a new vehicle before the win, and now they'll be able to upgrade a little.

Still, it will likely be an SUV, because "I'm not a Corvette guy," Donaldson said.

"I am," his wife countered, just as quick.

Luckily, now they'll be able to afford both.

Sandra and Robert (Bob) Donaldson of Smithville, Ont., hold their Lotto 649 cheque for nearly 24 million dollars. While winners name, picture and place of residence are required to be published, these news conferences are optional. (Ousama Farag/CBC)