Millionaire By Mistake
By now most of us are familiar with many of the tactics employed by people who want to win lottery jackpots. Some faithfully use sets of “lucky” number combinations, some rely on dreams, still other people use loved ones’ birthdays, a few use gut feeling, and some claim to have their own “system” for choosing number combinations.
But in truth, there are many winners whose entries have been computer generated, called quick picks or lucky dips, depending on where you are from. These do not involve any kind of system or special way of choosing what the entry contains, yet they win. And then there are also people who win as a consequence of errors. Some players accept the ticket generated by mistake and go on to post significant wins. There are quite a few cases of people buying two tickets containing the same number combination for the same draw who later receive double the prize amount as a result.
Virginia store clerk Michael Donnelly is one of those people who have benefited from an error in a big way.
How Luck Sneaked In
Consider the scenario in early January this year when the Powerball Lottery jackpot had been building up to record highs. There were very long lines of people lined up at almost every outlet selling Powerball tickets. Any delay could cause customers’ tempers to flare, and the delay would certainly result in lost income.
It was that busy at the Harris Teeter shop in Falls Church when yet another customer asked Donnelly for a Powerball ticket. As luck would have it (literally in this case) Donnelly must have made an error in punching the order because instead of a Powerball ticket, the machine spit out a Cash4Life ticket. He could have cancelled the ticket, but that would take time and might anger the customers. So Donnelly made up for his error by deciding to buy the Cash4Life ticket for himself, problem solved and all it cost Donnelly was a measly $2 – or so he thought. He kept the ticket and sort of forgot about it.
But then a few days later a customer made a remark about how the Harris Teeter shop had sold a big winner. That prompted Donnelly to check his ticket and was surprised to find he had a perfect match to the results of the January 7 Cash4Life draw! He had won the top prize of $1000 a day for life!
What He’s Done Since
As soon as he discovered his big win, he called his wife to relay the news. He was told to come home right away if it was true because his wife was fixing to have a heart attack with the excitement. His next decision was to choose between actually receiving $1000 a day for the rest of his life or taking a cash option of about $7 million. He chose the cash option.
The winner says the extent of his good fortune has not sunk in yet. In fact, the error which has caused a lot of money to fall on his lap so surprised him that he has not indicated any plans for the money yet. But with that amount of money, he can certainly take his time making up his mind what to do.
While Donnelly is celebrating, the customer who rejected the lucky Cash4Life ticket must be feeling sorry he or she did not just fork out $2 to accept it. But blessings are like that, it will come if it is meant to be; otherwise it would go to another person – someone like Michael Donnelly for example.