Local woman wins tickets to Jackson memorial service

By Jamel Major - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Memphis woman applied for and won two tickets to the Michael Jackson memorial service, scheduled for Tuesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Shenna Harris Gladney said it all began after she registered for the tickets, which were distributed in an online lottery.

"The website kept crashing on me, but I kept trying," she said. "I was pretty persistent."

Gladney tried 3 times, registering herself, her mother, and her brother.  Then, she received the exciting news.

"Actually my mom - the tickets were in her name, and she opened her email just last night and saw she had won," she said.

Gladney said she's always been a huge fan of the king of pop, and has listened to his music most of her life.

"Michael was very important," she said. "His humanitarian efforts, not to mention he is so talented and gifted."

Gladney said while she and her mother are looking forward to traveling to California to take part in the memorial, they've had trouble finding a flight.

"That has been challenging, because it's such short notice, but we're still trying," she said. "We'd love to go and attend, but if we can't attend, we've agreed not to put them on Ebay to sell. We decided to cherish them...keep them as a keepsake."

Gladney said if she and her mother can't make it Los Angeles, they plan to watch the memorial service on television.

More than 1.6 million people registered for free tickets to the 10 a.m. memorial, which will be broadcast live worldwide. A total of 8,750 people were chosen to receive two tickets each. The lucky ones picked up their passes Monday at Dodger Stadium amid heavy police presence.

According to the Associated Press, downtown hotels were quickly filling Monday. Police, trying to avoid a mob scene downtown, warned those without tickets to stay away because they would not be able to get close to the Staples Center.

British Airways reported a surge of bookings as soon as the memorial arrangements were announced. Virgin's trans-Atlantic flights to San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles were all packed with fans and VIPs, said spokesman Paul Charles.

The Jackson family announced the participants will include Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Usher, Lionel Richie, Kobe Bryant, Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer and Martin Luther King III.

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