Trashing the Treasure: When Winning Lottery Tickets Get Thrown Away

When Winning Lottery Tickets Get Thrown Away

Stories about careless lottery winners are easy to find. Some, however, surpass expectations and almost entirely defy common sense. Today, we’re about to look at several such stories. Hold on to your hats, we’re about to go on a wild ride of negligence bound to have severe consequences.

Imagine playing the lottery diligently year after year. You always use the same numbers, buying a ticket for your favorite drawing from your favorite corner shop.

Then one day, fortune smiles upon you. Bingo, all of your lucky numbers make it among the winning ones. It’s a day of life-changing happens. But what happens if you find out that you’ve thrown the lottery ticket away? Will you ever be able to forgive yourself?

The people we’ll talk about today faced that very same situation. As unbelievable as it may seem, it has happened way more than once.

The One-Million-Dollar Powerball Ticket That Was Trashed

Speaking of a massive winning lottery ticket found in the trash, let’s start with this story from 2021.

We’re literally talking about a million-dollar lottery ticket found in the trash. Hoyt Hamilton, a Florida city council member, routinely bought Powerball tickets. He did it to enjoy himself and his expectations of winning anything were fairly slim.

One faithful day, Hoyt decided to check his Powerball tickets at a local store. When the cashier ran one of them, a notification was received that he’d have to visit a regional lottery office as he’d won more than 600 dollars.

Going back to his car, Hoyt checked the Powerball numbers to find out he’d gotten five correct (meaning – he’d won one million dollars). Unfortunately, Hoyt made another realization – the cashier hadn’t handed him back the winning Powerball ticket.

The 61-year-old man told media he had visions of himself dumpster diving to recover what had been lost. Luckily, the cashier was still there when Hoyt returned and she hadn’t emptied her trash bin. That’s how the million-dollar Powerball ticket got recovered from the trash.

Soon after, Hoyt visited the regional lottery office. He chose a lump sum payment of 740,000 dollars. With that amount, Hoyt plans to set up college funds for his four grandchildren and set a little bit aside for himself and his better half Sheryl.

The Thrown-Away Million-Dollar Ticket That Went Back to Its Owner

Lea Rose Fiega bought a Diamond Millions scratch-off ticket during her lunch break

What would you do with a lottery ticket found in the trash? Will you check it to see if it wins anything? And if that’s the case, will you keep it or try to discover the original owner?

In May 2021, a Massachusetts woman accidentally threw away a lottery ticket worth one million dollars (do you see a pattern emerging here?).

Lea Rose Fiega bought a Diamond Millions scratch-off ticket during her lunch break. In a hurry, she scratched off the required fields, checked them quickly, and gave a ticket back to the cashier in order to have it thrown away. The ticket remained behind the counter for 10 days before the story continued.

Abhi Shah, the son of the store’s owner was going through the papers behind the counter when he came across the ticket. He made an incredible discovery – Lea hadn’t scratched off one of the fields.  When he did so, Abhi realized that the ticket was worth one million dollars.

So, what happens when a man finds a winning lottery ticket in the trash?

He tries to locate the real owner.

The family owning the store knew Lea Rose really well because she was a regular customer. Abhi Shah decided to visit her workplace in order to return the winning ticket (faith in humanity restored!).

The good news here is that everyone involved in the story has gotten lucky. Lea Rose received her life-changing million dollars. The owners of the store got a bonus of 10,000 dollars for selling the winning ticket. Hence, it’s a win-win, a well-deserved one for sure!

Ripped in Half, Worth 57.9 Million Pounds

Fred and Lesley Higgins from Scotland

For our next story, we’re heading over to the UK.

You see, it’s not only people from the US who have the misfortune of throwing winning lottery tickets away. In this story, a careless cashier is once again involved but there would be a happy end nonetheless.

Fred and Lesley Higgins from Scotland decided to participate in one of the EuroMillions draws on a faithful summer day. A few days later, Fred took the ticket to a local store in order to have it checked. The cashier told the retired man he hadn’t won anything. Next, the ticket was torn in half and thrown away – a standard procedure for all non-winning playslips.

A ticket machine at the venue, however, was used to double-check results.  It informed the cashier that Camelot (the company running the UK lottery) had to be contacted about the ticket.

While the ticket was torn, the numbers on it were still visible. Upon getting in touch with Camelot, Fred found out that he’d won 57.9 million pounds or about 75.5 million US dollars.

Because of the ticket’s condition, however, Fred and Lesley experienced some hardships claiming their millions. Camelot dispatched an entire investigative team in order to check the ticket. CCTV footage was also examined and a number of interviews were carried out to make sure there were no fraud attempts.

Eventually, Fred and Lesley did receive their prize and started planning a bright future. The store where the terrible error was made issued a statement that it was an honest mistake. Luckily, two people’s lives were changed for the better, regardless of one person’s workplace sloppiness.

Finding Millions in the Spam Folder? (No, Not a Scam!)

Laura Spears from Oakland County, Michigan

The final almost unbelievable story today is a little bit different from the others. Once again, however, it involves someone that nearly missed a chance to become a millionaire.

At the end of 2021, Laura Spears from Oakland County, Michigan, played Mega Millions.

Laura, however, didn’t think much about the ticket. Eventually, the end of January 2022 came. That’s when our protagonist checked her email spam folder while looking for a missing letter.

Imagine Laura’s surprise when she saw an email from the lottery in her spam folder. The message stated that Laura had won three million dollars. Incredulous, she logged into her lottery account. That’s how Laura confirmed the fact that she’d really become a millionaire.

Keep in mind, however, that the story could have had a very different outcome.

Very often, lottery notifications received by email are actual scam attempts.

If you’ve received a note about winning a lottery that you’ve never played, it’s a definite scam. The same applies to lotteries that ask for processing fees or sums sent upfront in order for the reward to be cleared. In the event of getting such an email, you should never reveal personal or financial information. If you do, you’ll easily become the victim of identity theft. What’s worse, money could be stolen right out of your account.

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