Many have daydreamed of winning the lottery—but how about unwittingly having a $1 million win in your hands, then accidentally tossing it out?
That waking nightmare happened to Massachusetts’ Lea Rose Fiega. Luckily, the kind store owners where she bought the ticket let her know her mistake.
It was back in March that Fiega spent $30 on a scratch-off Diamond Millions ticket from Lucky Stop in Southwick.
“I was in a hurry, on lunch break, and just scratched it real quick, and looked at it, and it didn’t look like a winner, so I handed it over to them to throw away,” she told Associated Press.
For 10 days, the ticket simply lay there behind the counter.
“One evening, I was going through the tickets from the trash and found out that she didn’t scratch the number,” Abhi Shah, the son of the store’s owners told WWLP-TV. “I scratched the number and it was $1 million underneath the ticket.”
“We had mixed emotions,” Shah told the Washington Post. “We didn’t sleep for two nights, but I don’t know what happened. My inner soul told me: ‘That’s not right. You know who that person is. You should give that ticket back to them.’ And that’s exactly what I did.”
Fiega works near the convenience store where she got her ticket—so Shah went over there. He told her his mom and dad would like to see her, so she went over to the store. When she got the news she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She cried. And then she hugged the entire family.
For Fiega, who nearly died of COVID-19 in January, winning the lottery has truly been the (very rich) icing on the cake of what’s been a difficult year.
The Diamond Millions store will get $10,000 from the Massachusetts State Lottery commission for selling the winning ticket—and Fiega happily gave the family an additional reward. The rest, she says she’ll save for her retirement.