By Ryan Velez
The amount of luck that goes into finding a winning lottery ticket is difficult to fathom, especially when it comes to a jackpot of $24 million. 68-year-old Jimmie Smith of New Jersey may be hitting new levels of luck, finding a winning ticket in an old shirt 2 days before it was set to expire. Celebrity Net Worth has more on the story.
This took place over a year ago, when the New York Gaming Commission was aware that the $24.1 million winning ticket had been sold and they knew the bodega where the sale happened. However, who the winner was wasn’t clear. New York Lottery tickets have a year’s time before they expire. As the date got closer, the commission put together a commission to find the winner. Gweneth Dean, director of the Commission's Division of the Lottery, helped 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." Smith caught wind of the publicity, and decided to put the suggestion into action. He ended up checking a shirt hanging in his closet to see if it had the winning ticket. This took place on May 23, 2017. The expiration date of the ticket? May 25, 2017.Two days made all the difference between something changing his life and something that was worthless.
“I ended up with a stack; a pile of tickets, including the one they were talking about on the news,” he said. “I 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. I was in serious doubt. I really had to convince myself this was real."
Since the New York Gaming Commission has been able to confirm his ticket, Smith’s story has now been made public, and he will receive his $24.1 million jackpot in installments over the next 26 years. Smith, a retired security guard, is a father of two and grandfather of 12. He says he’s been trying the luck with the lottery for years, but has never felt the need to be in a rush to check his old tickets. Luckily, in this case, he was just in time.