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McDonald’s Gives $1M to Laborer

September 2, 2001

HOLLY HILL, Fla. (AP) _ McDonald’s hand-picked a formerly homeless day laborer and gave him $1 million as part of the restaurant chain’s effort to restore consumer confidence in its sweepstakes promotions.

Patrick Collier, 35, and his fiancee, 29-year-old Sandi Fabian, had been frequenting the restaurant for about six weeks and lived across the street in a hotel room they shared with Collier’s mother.

Corporate managers, who said they picked Collier at random, approached the two as they sat down just after 10 a.m. Saturday to have breakfast.

``I thought I had done something wrong, but I was confused when they handed me this certificate telling me I had won a million dollars,″ Collier said.

Just months ago Callier and Fabian said they were homeless, sleeping on cardboard boxes and earning $50 a day as laborers when they could find work.

``I’m getting a Harley,″ Collier said, ``and a couple of houses.″

``And one for me. He always said he’d buy me a house,″ added his mother, Judy LaBounty.

McDonald’s said its restaurant in Holly Hill, about five miles north of Daytona Beach, was one of five selected at random to distribute five $1 million grand prizes. Fifty people will also be given $100,000 awards during the giveaway, which runs through Monday.

McDonald’s announced the promotion in the wake of an FBI investigation last month, which found that an employee of a marketing company contracted to run McDonald’s Monopoly game allegedly stole more than $13 million in winnings.

Nancy Izquierdo, a McDonald’s spokeswoman, said team members choose someone to receive the prize without any criteria.

``It’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time,″ she said Sunday.

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