Cashier sells mom wrong lotto ticket. Weeks later she scratches it—can’t believe her luck

January 8, 2018 10:14 am Last Updated: January 8, 2018 10:14 am

We’ve all experienced it—something happens that we think is bad or a mistake, then later it turns out perfectly in a way we could have never predicted. The point is, awesome outcomes can be disguised as bad situations.

For Oksana Zaharov, a simple mistake changed the course of her life.


Oksana Zaharov, a mother of two from New Jersey, was in Manhattan enjoying some shopping when she decided to have a little gamble and stopped into a convenience store to buy the cheapest lottery ticket available, which was $1.

Instead of handing her the $1 New York Lottery scratch-off she’d requested, the store clerk accidentally handed her the $10 “Set for Life” scratch-off. Though the ticket was not as cheap as she intended, she decided to buy the ticket anyway.

“When the clerk handed me the wrong ticket, I felt bad, so I decided to just go ahead and buy it,” Zaharov said.

Saving the excitement, she used the ticket as a bookmark for a couple of weeks.

(Flickr/Andrew Malone/CC BY 2.0)

Most people buy a scratch-off and immediately find a coin to see if they won. Zaharov had more patience than most people.

“I actually used the ticket as a bookmark for a couple weeks before I decided to scratch it,” she said.

The suspense must have been killing her, because she eventually decided to see if she was a winner. After finally scratching her lottery ticket, she could not believe what she was seeing.

She had won $5 million dollars!

(New York Lottery)

She told the New York lottery that, “I never win anything. I was sure the ticket was fake. It wasn’t until I brought it into the office that I knew it was for real.”

The money was real, and the fact that she will be set for life is real as well! She’ll receive $172,068 a year for the rest of her life. She told the lottery that she will celebrate her win by taking her family on vacation to the Bahamas.

In a world full of debt, Zaharov is happy to be able to pay for her children’s education. They “will have a loan-free education,” she said.