SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP/WPRI) — A Springfield woman has stepped forward to claim a $1 million prize from a winning scratch ticket in the Massachusetts lottery — but it almost never happened.
Lea Rose Fiega must be feeling lucky these days. Not only did she buy a winning ticket, but the staff at the store she got it from saved her from literally throwing it all away.
A convenience store called Lucky Spot is living up to its name. Abhi Shah, the son of the owner sad his mother, Aruna Shah, sold the winning ticket to Fiega who is one of their regular customers.
The ticket sat discarded in the store for 10 days after Fiega assumed it wasn’t worth anything and handed it back to be tossed out for the second-chance drawing.
“One evening, I was going through the tickets from the trash and [noticed] that she didn’t scratch the number,” Abhi said. “I scratched the number and it was $1 million underneath the ticket.”
The Shahs said it wasn’t an easy decision to return the ticket.
“I mean I had $1 million in my hand and on the other and I wanted to do something good,” said Maunish Shah, owner of Lucky Spot. “We didn’t sleep two nights. He called my mom, grandparents in India, they said, ‘Give it back, we don’t want that money.'”
The family then decided to return the ticket. Since Fiega visited the store often, they knew where to find her.
“As soon as [Fiega] came in, I handed her the $1 million ticket, and she freaked out and cried like a baby,” Maunish said. “She sat down on the floor right here.”
The good fortune doesn’t stop there. Lucky Spot now gets a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
Sometimes doing the right thing pays off.