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McDonald's million dollar giveaway -- Find out why Thelma Bellow's won't be keeping her prize money

Thelma Bellows was a millionaire for a day. Earlier this month, the 49-year-old Michigan grandmother decided to play ''McMillions on NBC,'' a TV promotion intended to push both NBC's fall shows and McDonald's hamburgers. On Oct. 11, Bellows picked up a McMillions ticket at a McDonald's restaurant and matched its nine-digit number with one revealed on NBC's The Cosby Show. The next day McDonald's execs whisked her to Detroit, trotted her in front of TV reporters, and presented a prop check for $10 million. Later that day, however, McDonald's took back its promise of the real money after it learned that Bellows' 23-year-old daughter works at a Michigan McDonald's; employees and their families are ineligible.

''I feel cheated,'' Bellows told ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. ''It's like getting slapped in the face. I never tried to hide that she worked at McDonald's.'' Bellows says the company offered her 27 cents a mile for her 200-mile round- trip to Detroit. Both NBC and McDonald's declined to comment on the matter.

Originally posted Nov 02, 1990 Published in issue #38 Nov 02, 1990 Order article reprints