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After 25 years of trying, two friends win $14 million jackpot

As the old saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, but a pair of old lottery friends and newly-minted millionaires would beg to differ. For 25 years, Willie McPherson, 74, and Christopher Manzi, 44, dutifully put their cash together in the hope that the day would come one when of their lottery tickets finally hit.Last month, the two old fr
/ Source: TODAY contributor

As the old saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, but a pair of old lottery friends and newly-minted millionaires would beg to differ.

For 25 years, Willie McPherson, 74, and Christopher Manzi, 44, dutifully put their cash together in the hope that the day would come one when of their lottery tickets finally hit.

Last month, the two old friends won a $14 million Mega Millions jackpot, and they did it with a ticket they didn’t even have to pay for. After borrowing $20 from Manzi, McPherson bought the usual $40 worth of Powerball and Mega Millions tickets for the two men on September 18 at a coffee shop in Manhattan and was given two $1 Quick Picks for free as part of a promotion. One of those two was the jackpot winner, which McPherson determined a day later.

“Willie came in and said, ‘We hit the lottery! We’re going to Miami!’ ” Manzi told The New York Post.

"We won $14 million on a free play ticket," McPherson told The New York Daily News. "(It feels) beautiful."

The two men took the lump sum option, which resulted in a prize of just over $10 million. Manzi, who lives in Morganville, N.J., gets $3.5 million after taxes, while McPherson will get $3.3 million after taxes because he is a Manhattan resident.

"It's just a great feeling,’’ Manzi told the Daily News. “We are two lucky guys."

The two have been buying tickets together since 1987 after becoming friends when McPherson worked at Manzi’s print shop in Manhattan, according to The New York Post. McPherson has been retired for eight years, and Manzi is now contemplating retirement after his windfall.

“We both like playing the lottery, we both like women, and we both like lots of money,’’ Manzi  told the Post about their common interests.

The owner of Kyu’s Coffee Shop, where McPherson bought the winning ticket, received $10,000 for selling the golden ticket.