SOUTHWICK, Mass. — Talk about good fortune. A Massachusetts woman who accidentally tossed out a $1 million lottery ticket eventually got to collect her winnings thanks to the kindness and honesty of the operators of the store where she bought .
Lea Rose Fiega bought the $30 Diamond Millions scratch-off ticket in March at a Lucky Stop convenience store in Southwick, Massachusetts, near were 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,” the Western Massachusetts woman says.
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,” says Abhi Shah, the son of the store’s owners. “I scratched the number, and it was $1 million underneath the ticket.”
Fiega is a regular customer of the store. So the family knew immediately who had discarded it, and Shah went to see Fiega at work.
“He came to my office and said, ‘My Mom and Dad would like to see you,‘ “ she says. “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.
“I mean, who does that? They’re great people. I am beyond blessed.”
Fiega says that, in January, she’d survived a near-fatal COVID-19 infection — which she likened to “winning the lottery.” So she feels doubly fortunate.
The store gets a $10,000 bonus from the state lottery commission for selling the winning ticket.
And Fiega says she gave the family an additional reward. She’s saving the rest for retirement.