Not everyone who plays the lottery is exceptionally well organized. Jimmie Smith is one of those who may need some assistance with his organizational skills. And after he found the winning lottery ticket in the pocket of an old shirt, just days before the award was set to expire, he might be able to afford a personal assistant.
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68-year old Jimmie Smith played the New York lottery. He played frequently, but wasn’t so good at keeping track of his tickets. Some were stuffed in the pocket of an old shirt he had hung up in a closet.
“I always told myself, ‘I’ll check them when I have the time,'” he told CNN.
He eventually did check his pockets, and he found a winning ticket, one for $24.1 million, that would have expired in two days had he not claimed it.
The ticket had been purchased more than a year ago. The New York Gaming Commission knew the winning ticket was sold at a corner store in New York City. Still, they didn’t know who had bought it.
As winners sometimes stay anonymous while they put in place financial support for their winnings, it wasn’t odd that the prize hadn’t been claimed. Yet it would have been odd if it wasn’t claimed within the year.
With that in mind, the New York Lottery worried the winner was not aware that he or she had won. So they put the word out.
“We urge New York Lottery players: Check your pockets. Check your glove box. Look under the couch cushions. If you have this winning ticket, we look forward to meeting you,” Gweneth Dean, director of the Commission’s Division of the Lottery, encouraged.
— New York Lottery (@newyorklottery) May 19, 2017
Smith caught wind of the missing winner and decided he should check his collection of tickets.
He read the numbers, and “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,: he said. “I was in serious doubt. I really had to convince myself this was real.”
He found the ticket on May 23, 2017. The ticket was set to expire on May 25th.
“We are thrilled that this lucky winner was able to locate this life-changing ticket,” Dean, of the gaming commission, said.
He’s chosen to take regular payments over the course of 26 years.