COEUR d'ALENE - Debbi Hahn's little white lie turned into a windfall beyond her wildest expectations.
The Coeur d'Alene elementary school teacher won North Idaho College's Really Big Raffle Wednesday evening, claiming the $255,000 grand prize house with the one ticket she bought.
The thing is, the $100 she spent on the ticket wasn't supposed to go to the raffle. Hahn's mother gave her the money, rather, to buy some yard supplies for the home Hahn already owns.
But around that time Hahn toured the Coeur d'Alene Place home and, well, the wheels in her head started turning.
"You never know," she said on why she ended up using that gifted money, unbeknownst to her mother, on purchasing lucky ticket number 3848. "There were other great prizes as well."
Instead of yard supplies, Hahn's $100 turned into a whole a house with a backyard all its own.
"I'm kind of speechless and in shock right now," she said.
Around 2,000 people converged on the NIC campus to watch the drawing, taking in the scene without trying to get their hopes up too high.
"Yeah, it would be nice (to win), we could retire," said ticket purchaser Linda Holecek before the drawing about keeping her expectations down given the 1 in 5,000 odds. "We'll see what happens."
In the end, none of the big winners were present, but the school's biggest fundraiser in its 19th year also raffled off smaller prizes - $290,000 worth in all - and some of those winners were on hand to grab their gifts.
As soon as the house winner was announced, the crowd shuffled off. By the time NIC Foundation Executive Director Rayelle Anderson contacted Hahn by phone to tell the married mother with two sons of the news, the rumor mill had already reached Hahn via phone calls.
"They said they heard my name and asked if I bought a ticket," Hahn said of those initial calls, adding she missed the live drawing because she had to take her kids to music rehearsal.
Anderson told her the rumor was true.
"I'm in complete shock right now," Hahn repeated.
Already a homeowner, Hahn - who has lived in Coeur d'Alene for 12 years, taken classes at NIC and bought a ticket to the raffle for the first time last year - and her family will decide what to do with the new home after the shock wears off, she said.
She said she would come clean to her mother as well.
"I bought a raffle ticket instead," she said.
Really Big winners
This year's Really Big Raffle winners
Grand prize $255,000 house: Debbi Hahn, of Coeur d'Alene, ticket #3848
First place $20,000 car: Richard Hardy, of Dalton Gardens, with ticket #0382
Second place $10,000 boat: Melissa Burke, of Spokane Valley, with ticket #4263
Third place $3,500 travel package: Marlene Watts, of Coeur d'Alene, with ticket #1341
Fourth place $2,000 shopping spree: Wayne Koski, of Mullan, with ticket #4739.