A Kansas man who left his $1 million winning lottery ticket behind at a gas station convenience store was tracked down by the owner’s son and handed the ticket.
“I showed them the ticket, told them they’re a winner. They started shaking, they couldn’t believe it at all,” said Kal Patel, the son of the store’s owner.
According to the Salina Journal, the anonymous winner told Kansas Lottery officials that his brother went into the Pit Stop convenience store to check the lottery tickets. After checking two of the tickets, the brother accidentally left behind a third ticket.
Store clerk Andy Patel, no relation to Kal Patel, later noticed the left-behind ticket and ran it, just in case. When we realised it was a winning ticket, he called Kal to see what they should do.
“He said six zeroes were popping up on the screen,” said Kal Patel. “We couldn’t believe it.”
Kal told the paper that he was determined to find the rightful owner of the winning ticket, even if keeping it would have made him an instant millionaire.
“Knew it was a longtime customer who had left it here,” Kal said.
“They didn’t know they had the winning ticket, so they never would have known if I hadn’t found them. But then you’d have to live through the guilt of that all your life.”
When Andy described the owner of the million-dollar ticket to him on March 18, Kal thought he knew who the customer was began to search for him.
“I went into the neighborhood where I knew he lived, but I couldn’t find him,” he said. “Their cars weren’t outside or anything, and I couldn’t find their house … exactly which one it was.”
Kal returned to the store, thinking he would give the ticket to the customer the next time he came in.
But then, he decided to take one more drive through the neighborhood, which is when he saw that customer and his brother driving on the road.
After recognizing Kal, the two stopped and that’s when they learned, to their surprise, that their third ticket was the winner in the lottery.
They all went back to the store together to double check the winning numbers.
“All of them matched with winning numbers,” Kal said. “And that’s how they were millionaires.”
Kal told the paper that he has no regrets.
“If it had just been dropped and we didn’t know whose it was, then we wouldn’t have known where to look,” he said.
“But we did. It felt good to give it to them. And the praise we got back from everyone for doing this was really nice. They said it restored their faith in humanity.”
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