A winning lottery ticket was all but a distant memory sitting in a console in a Long Island man’s truck, just waiting to be found and cashed in.
The man, auto body shop owner Jerry Ritieni, bought the lottery ticket a month before and stashed it in his truck, not thinking twice about it. After all, he had played the lottery every week for at least half a decade and never won anything. This ticket probably wasn’t anything special, right? Wrong.
The lottery ticket was worth a whopping $2.9 million, according to AOL.
Jerry happened upon his lost lottery ticket when he was looking for a set of keys in his truck, but he still did not bother to check the lottery numbers to see if he was a winner. Instead, Jerry put the lottery ticket under his keyboard at work for a week more, according to ABC News.
The 47-year-old finally checked the lottery ticket on August 28 and realized that he had all the right numbers on his Quick Pick ticket and they were matched in exactly the same order as they were delivered by the New York State Lottery.
Jerry Ritieni told ABC News that could not believe his eyes.
“I’m circling them and I’m getting towards the third number and I’m like, ‘No way.’ I couldn’t believe it.”
Jerry’s 17-year-old son was with him and heard the amazing news of the winning lottery ticket first. Jerry then called his 20-year-old daughter and told her about the lottery ticket that was going to change their lives.
“They didn’t believe me because I’m a joking dad,” the single father said.
Every week for nearly ten years, Jerry Ritieni has bought lottery tickets at the same gas station near the Long Island Expressway where he also gets coffee and gas. This routine has finally payed off for Ritieni and his children.
“For now, I’m going to secure my kids’ future,” Jerry said. “That’s more important than anything.”
Ritieni plans to accept a lump-sum payment of about $1.8 million, and after taxes he can rely on around $1.3 million.
Jerry isn’t giving up on the lottery anytime soon. He hopes that he will be one of the very few that will win the lottery more than once.
“My son told me I already beat the odds because he says there’s a greater chance of getting killed by a vending machine than winning the lottery,” Jerry claimed.
It is likely that Jerry Ritieni will not forget about any of the future lottery tickets he purchases and leaves in his truck again.