Linda Mix has dedicated her life to helping others. With an extra $1.3 million in the bank from a jackpot win at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, Mix can now take care of herself as well. For 15 years, Mix has worked for Tulsa Public Schools in the special education department. She started her career there after putting her own children through school. Mix’s mother currently lives with her, and her father and stepfather each lived with her for a time until they passed.
Mix was spending an evening at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa recently when she sat at the Williams “Wizard of Oz” one-cent electronic game at the end of the row.
“You know how we Americans like to spread out and not sit right beside someone,” Mix said. “So I sat at the one at the end, put my money in and started playing the game by betting random amounts.”
A few years ago, Mix attended a conference with a friend in Las Vegas. The two discovered a similar “Wizard of Oz” game and her friend won on it. The moment created a lasting connection to the game and an inside joke about “little red shoes” that continues to this day.
“I really like the game. I’d been looking for it and just found it [at Hard Rock] recently,” said the 56-year-old Jenks woman. “I won on it before. I always play it when I come out.”
Mix won $500 shortly after sitting down. A neighboring guest advised Mix to cash out, advice that she luckily ignored. Mix said after winning an amount that size she usually spins an additional three to five times before cashing out.
It was the fourth spin that changed everything.
“I wagered $1.20, $1.20, $4.80, $4.80,” Mix said. “I never realized it was a progressive until the machine went into shock and it read ‘progressive’ multiple times on a single line. Then it was $1 million.”
Mix admits much of the moment is a blur, but she does remember everyone being excited for her and a joke or two exchanged with other guests. She said she knew instantly what she would do with the winnings.
“I’m thankful that I get to pay off my student loans. I have nearly $100,000 in loans that I no longer have to worry about taking to the grave,” said Mix, who plans to continue working as an area coordinator for TPS. “I never got to do anything special for my kids when they graduated college, so I’m really excited to finally be able to take them on a great vacation.”
After spending so much time in close quarters with her mother in her current residence, Mix said she also plans on buying a house with enough space that her mom can be on one end and she can be on the other. Mix said not to worry though. Her mom is really happy for her daughter.
“My mother is beyond thrilled because she gets to go and do whatever it is I do,” said Mix with a laugh.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa is located off of Interstate 44 at exit 240A. For more information, visit www.hardrockcasinotulsa.com or call (800) 760-6700.