The potential for great wealth results in its own lore, which is why Las Vegas is a hotspot for Megabucks rumors, legends and stories. One such story is of Cynthia Jay Brennan’s, who appeared to have it all at one point. In 2000, the cocktail waitress made her way to Las Vegas to attend her to-be mother-in-law’s birthday. Both she and her boyfriend were quite hard working and were neither rich nor poor, but that one night was a game-changer.
Brennan was greeted with the positive side of gambling when she won megabucks after pulling the slot’s handle. The state-wide jackpot was worth $35 million on the day that she played, an amount that was more than enough for her to get married in a fancy event, and the two made many plans to travel and see the world together with the winnings. However, as fate would have it, nothing would have prepared the couple for what happened – something that really pulled the ground from beneath their feet.
After a couple of weeks of winning in Las Vegas, Cynthia and her sister Lela were involved in a car accident, where the other drunk driver had 16 arrests and DUIs. The accident proved fatal for Cynthia’s sister and the impact was strong enough to crush Cynthia’s spine.
To this day, Brennan remains paralyzed from the waist down. She and her husband swear they will give all the money back in a blink if they could only go back to the way they were before winning the jackpot.
The cocktail waitress who was once independent can no longer even dress herself, and needs assistance with even the easiest of tasks. On 26th January, 2000, Cynthia and her family went out for a get together to Las Vegas Strip, something that she hardly experienced as she was always the one working behind the bar, and never the player.
She says she remembers joking with her future mother-in-law about the amount of money she was going to make. Little did she know that the slot machine handle would align perfectly in a row when she pulled it for the ninth time. After she hit the jackpot, Brennan says that for a couple of seconds, she was completely dazed and did not realize what was happening. The machine was whistling and the folks around her were shouting, and still she could not take in what was happening.
It took her more than a minute to finally settle down and make out of the situation. That night Cynthia got lucky with just a little under $35 million, the largest slot reward at that time.
Thankfully, the accident and Cynthia’s paralysis did not affect her relationship with her husband and the two have managed through life’s thick and thin together. In fact, Cynthia says the reason she was able to go through it all after spending ten days in a hospital was thanks to her husband’s support, strength and constant hope for the better. Terry Brennan, besides working as a bartender at a casino in Monte Carlo, looks after his home and his paralyzed wife.
In April of 2001, the drunk driver behind the accident, known as Clark Morse, was penalized with 28 years in prison by a jury in Nevada. This case also happened to be the driving force behind the revision of DUI laws in Nevada, as Clark succeeded in evading serious punishment even after 16 DUI charges, which resulted in the accident. In this particular case, he was going at a speed of 51 miles per hour, and never hit the brakes.
Even though doctors tell Cynthia Brennan that she will ever only be able to move her shoulders and arms, she remains hopeful regarding the possibility that she will be able to walk again - after all, she does have a pretty special case of good luck.