They were just two of the stories from the 38 National Lottery gameshow winners who have returned after a week in New York.
Trevor Thompson, 36, and his building contractor brother Norman, 41, who emigrated to the States 18 years ago had an emotional reunion in Washington. “We had kept in touch but missed each other every time I had been in the States,” said Trevor.
“I contacted Norman’s wife, Michelle, five weeks ago and planned the reunion,” he said. Along with his wife, Tara, 35, father-of-two Trevor arrived on the doorstep of his brother’s house after a three-hour train ride from New York.
“It was the classic doorstep shock. He recognised me right away but didn’t say anything. He just stood there in shock.
“Then when I started to laugh, he realised I wasn’t delivering bad news,” said Mullingar postman Trevor, who met his US nephews Liam, 5, and Marcus, 3, for the first time.
Tara said: “There were lots of tears, too. I was really happy for Trevor that it worked out. It was a dream fulfilled. From the moment we realised we were going to New York, it’s all we thought off.”
However, there were no tears of joy for mother- of-three Dolores Webb, 41, from Millstreet, Co Cork.
She decided shopping was out during her Big Money Gameshow’s six-day trip to the Big Apple. “All I wanted to do was to meet my cousin Anthony Sweeney, who I have never seen but it didn’t work out. He never turned up but his brother John, who I had met 15 years ago in Ireland, did meet me in Times Square.
“My mother, Mary Ann Sweeney, was born in the States but my grandparents returned to Ireland, leaving some of my mother’s older bothers behind in the US.
“My mum used to keep in touch with the American side of the family for years. I emailed them to say I was coming to New York and John, 45, was enthusiastic but Anthony, who is 47, didn’t turn up. There were no excuses or reason given. It was very disappointing, it’s all I wanted from this trip,” said Dolores, who was joined on the trip by the youngest of her three children, Michael, 12.
The national lottery’s Paula McEvoy said: “All our winners had a fantastic time, which is really what the prizes are all about — fun, excitement and the chance to live the dream.”