Distracted by the impending loss of her terminally ill mother, Joy, Heth had bought the ticket while on a trip with her mother to Clearlake last February. Stopping at a local store on her way back to the house where they were vacationing, Heth quickly purchased two Big Spin tickets.
"It was just getting dark and I was already so upset with all that was going on that I just scratched off the cards while I was in the car," said Heth. "The lighting was poor and I thought they were losing tickets, so I just tossed them in my purse to throw away later."
The tickets were forgotten until they fell out of Heth's purse a few days later. Reaching down to pick them up and put them in the garbage, she gave them one last cursory glance. Seeing that the scratched off portions, three in all, said "TV Show," Heth knew she was an automatic lottery spin winner.
"I thought to myself, 'What a time for me to get this ticket,'" said Heth. "My mother was declining quickly and I just didn't have time to think about this. But when I got home, I called the lottery people and they said yes, I had the right tickets and they would be contacting me about the Big Spin."
It was then that the series of serendipitous events began. On June 24, Heth flew to Los Angeles where, along with 10 other contestants, she took her shot at the big wheel, and outspun the other nine participants. Her first spin landed on a "triple," meaning that her second spin would earn her three times the dollar amount of her next spin. Her second try landed on the $100,000 mark, and she quickly found herself the recipient of $300,000.
"Part of me was fearful to even take the trip because I knew my mom was close to the end," said Heth, who had been caring for her bed-bound mother for the past 11 years. "But I told her I was going and she made eye contact with me and said, 'I'm very tired, and I love you.' At that point I started to cry because she had basically stopped talking months before this. I took that as a sign that she wanted me to go. From that moment on, I had no doubt I was going to win; I knew that it was going to be a gift from my mother."
Heth's lottery win was televised on July 7; the following day her mother passed on.
"I know that she hung on because she really wanted to see the show and see me win," said Heth. "Twelve hours after she watched it, she died. The peaceful, contented look on her face as she passed told me she was OK. It was a beautiful thing."
Since winning the money, Heth said she has had little time to consider her windfall and how it will change her life.
"I have no idea what I will do with the money except that I want to buy a new car and a new purse," she said. "Other than that, I'll put the rest away for now.
"This all happened to me for a reason and every minute since I bought those tickets something has led me toward all this. How I look at it is that God gave the money to my mom, and she gave it to me as a gift; a thank you for loving her and caring for her all those years. I'd give it back in a minute just to have her here, but I know that she is content and happy for me."