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A Massachusetts woman tried to throw out a lottery ticket worth $1 million – but an honest convenience store owner made sure she got her payday.
Lea Rose Fiega bought a Diamond Millions scratch-off in March at a store called Lucky Stop in Southwick, where she was a regular.
Her loyalty and the fact the owners recognized her ended up paying off.
“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,” Fiega said Monday.
But the ticket wasn’t fully scratched off and it sat in a pile in the store for 10 days until Abhi Shah, son of the store owners, noticed the unfinished $30 ticket in the trash.
“I scratched the number and it was one million dollars underneath,” Shah told local TV station WWLP.
The family recognized Fiega, but was torn over what to do.
Lucky Spot owner Maunish Shah told the station the family lost sleep over his son’s big-money find.
“He called my grandparents in India, they said give it back we don’t want that money,” Maunish Shah said, according to WWLP.
The younger Shah came to find Fiega at work and told her his parents wanted to see her, according to the lottery winner.
“I said ‘I’m working,’ and he said ‘no you have to come over,’” Fiega said.
“So I went over there and that’s when they told me,” Fiega added. “I was in total disbelief. I cried, I hugged them.”
She had survived a bout with COVID-19 in January, she said, and her luck apparently hasn’t given out just yet.
Abhi Shah, whose mother had sold the ticket to Fiega, told WWLP what it was like to have a $1 million and give it away.
“I mean I had $1 million in my hand and on the other and I wanted to do something good,” he said.
The store doesn’t walk away empty handed though.
The Associated Press reports the lottery will pay $10,000 to the store as a bonus, and Fiega said she gave the family some cash as a thank you.
With Post wires.
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