“We’re the richest wax museum in the world!” screams Gonzalo Presa, head of communications at the Museo de Cera, the Madrid equivalent of London’s famous Madame Tussauds.
The attraction’s 34 employees between them scooped an incredible €64 million in Spain’s huge El Gordo Christmas lottery on Monday, having bought 160 tickets bearing this year’s winning number, 13437.
David was the young member of staff entrusted with choosing the company’s number this year: “I left it to chance,” he explains. “I only wanted it to end in seven because that day is my girlfriend’s birthday.” Coincidentally, he has also been working at the museum for seven years. “I never used to believe in things like this… but now I will,” he says with a smile.
Mom, I’ve won the lottery! Let’s bring grandma over!” Noemí, Museo de Cera employee
His colleague Lola was the one who raised the alarm after receiving the first call. “I didn’t believe it at first, but then we looked on the internet” There are four people who are going to be very grateful to her this Christmas: like some of her colleagues, she bought lottery tickets as gifts for family members.
The €3,000 worth of tickets that Museo de Cera staff bought for this year’s El Gordo – the world’s biggest lottery in terms of total prize payout – were also shared out among some of the other businesses that occupy the Centro Colón commercial center in downtown Madrid. “We always buy and share out tickets among the neighbors here,” explains José Antonio. Although this former maintenance man retired from the museum several years ago, he has carried on buying lottery tickets with his old colleagues. “And thank goodness,” he says.
As workers from nearby offices looked on amazed, the Museo de Cera staff left the waxworks to one side to focus on champagne and doing the numbers after their win on Monday. While some did calculations for mortgages and vacations, young employee Noemí was trying to phone her mother: “Mom, I’ve won the lottery! Let’s bring grandma over!” Visibly emotional, she has always dreamed about flying her grandmother in from Guinea, her mother’s birthplace. “If it’s a question of money, it’s coming,” she says before joining in a hug with the rest of her colleagues.
For once, nobody was paying attention to the models of the rich and famous at the Museo de Cera. Today it was full of real-life millionaires.