Local MJ fans win memorial tickets

July 6, 2009 (CHICAGO) "I looked. I started yelling. I grabbed my husband. I scared him and all the kids, I woke them up," said Esmerelda Montes de Oca.

Esmerelda Montes de Oca beat incredible odds by winning a pair of tickets to Michael Jackson's memorial service.

A lifelong fan, she took a chance and registered for the free tickets and was emailed a voucher on Sunday night.

"I've never won anything in my life," said Montes de Oca.

After the shock came the reality that she had to make quick plans to get from Riverside to Los Angeles. She tried to find plane tickets at work on Monday, then went to Midway where she went from counter to counter only to find tickets way out of her price range.

She's not giving up hope. Her next stop is O'Hare where she's hoping to catch a flight with her husband. If not, her unclaimed tickets will go to someone else and she'll remember Jackson in her own way.

"I'll pray for him, his children and his mom...they're feeling it more than anyone...and just be his fan forever," said Esmerelda Montes de Oca.

Deborah Crader in Carol Stream also won tickets to the memorial, but knew she couldn't go. She offered them for free on Twitter and was swamped with responses.

"I looked at this one girl's reply and she said I was blessed for getting them. And that kind of took me by surprise. I looked at her past tweets and she was saddened by Michael Jackson's passing. I knew she was the one," said Deborah Crader.

Crader gave her tickets to a 24-year-old woman who lives in Los Angeles and told her she is grateful to be a part of history.

An all star lineup will be there including celebrities such as Chicago's own Jennifer Hudson along with Stevie Wonder and John Mayer.

Jackson's ex-wives, Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe, won't be there. Rowe says she doesn't want to be a distraction. She had a run in with paparazzi this week.

At first, it was thought that Jackson's friend Elizabeth Taylor would read the eulogy but on Monday on twitter, she said she is not going to the memorial and wants to keep her grief private.

There will be another memorial service for Jackson on Friday in his hometown of Gary, Indiana at the U.S. Steel yard. It begins at 6 pm.

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