Woman gets back $1 million lottery ticket she had thrown away

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SOUTHWICK, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts woman who accidentally tossed out a $1 million lottery ticket eventually collected her winnings thanks to the kindness and honesty of the owners of the store where she bought it.

Lea Rose Fiega bought the $30 Diamond Millions scratch-off ticket in March at the Lucky Stop convenience store in Southwick near where she works.

“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 said Monday.

The ticket lay behind the counter for 10 days.

“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.”

Fiega is a regular customer, so the family knew immediately who had discarded it.

Shah went to see Fiega at work.

“He came to my office and said `my Mom and Dad would like to see you,”‘ she said. “I said `I’m working,’ and he said `no you have to come over.’ So I went over there and that’s when they told me. I was in total disbelief. I cried, I hugged them.”

Fiega said overcoming a near-fatal bout with COVID-19 in January was like “winning the lottery,” so she feels doubly fortunate.

“I mean, who does that? They’re great people. I am beyond blessed,” she said.

The store gets a $10,000 bonus from the state lottery commission for selling the winning ticket. Fiega said she gave the family an additional reward. She’s saving the rest for retirement.

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