A man from East Orange, New Jersey nearly missed out on a life-changing winning lottery ticket – and has the evening news to thank for the last minute reminder.
Jimmie Smith, 68, reportedly purchased several lottery tickets from a convenience and smoke shop located on 158 Church Street in New York City at some point back in the spring – and had forgotten they were still sitting in one of his old shirt pockets.
Smith was casually watching the news one evening, when he heard an announcement saying the time was ticking for one lucky mega millions winner to claim their prize.
That’s when he rummaged through his closet and took out the tickets he had previously purchased, scanned the slips, and was utterly stunned by what he saw before his eyes – the lucky numbers, 5-12-13-22-25-35.
Smith purchased several lottery tickets from a convenience and smoke shop located on 158 Church Street in New York City at some point back in the spring
When he claimed his prize just two days shy of its expiration, he told officials: ‘I ended up with a stack – a pile of tickets, including the one they were talking about on the news,’ according to the New York Lottery official website.
‘I stood there for a minute thinking, ‘Do I see what I think I see?’ I had to stick my head out the window and breathe in some fresh air … I was in serious doubt. I really had to convince myself this was real,’ Smith added.
When discussing why it took so long to review the winning ticket, Smith said he kept telling himself he would ‘check them when (he had) the time.’
On Wednesday, the New York Lottery finally announced to the public that the father-of-two was the winner of the $24.1million jackpot from the May 23 claiming.
The Lottery had apparently been undergoing a lengthy security check which was finally completed this week before the public announcement.
Smith, who is now a retired security guard, told officials he’s been hopelessly purchasing various lottery tickets for several decades around New Jersey and New York City.
Smith plans to have a sit-down discussion with his loved ones on how to handle the money most appropriately.