Man Finds Winning $24 Million Lottery Ticket In An Old Shirt Pocket

The winner hadn't realized he had the lucky ticket in his possession until two days before the deadline. Thankfully, he was able to claim his prize in time.

A man with a winning lottery ticket tucked away in the pocket of an old shirt nearly missed his chance of getting his hands on $24 million.

Jimmie Smith, 68, put all of his lottery tickets in the pockets of an old shirt.

“I’ll check them when I have the time,” the New Jersey man would often tell himself, according to CNN.

About a year after the winning ticket's drawing date, Smith found the proof of purchase in his old shirt.

Smith had picked the numbers 05-12-22-25-35 for the May 25, 2016, drawing, but hadn't checked whether he had won. While the New York Gaming Commission knew where the winning ticket had been bought, they were unable to determine the winner.

After several months, the New York Lottery launched a campaign to urge players to check everywhere for the winning ticket, as the one year period players have to claim their prize was about to end.

Then, on May 23 of this year, Smith saw a news story covering the search for the missing ticket owner, prompting him to take a look at his old tickets. As he found the piece of paper with the numbers matching the winning combination, he was baffled.

“I had to stick my head out the window and breathe in some fresh air,” he told reporters. “I was in serious doubt. I really had to convince myself this was real.”

On Wednesday, the New York Lottery confirmed he was the winner after a review.

It is, undoubtedly, life-changing and overwhelming to realize you just won millions thanks to a ticket you forgot you purchased. With his winnings, the father and grandfather of 12 will be able to do a great deal of good for himself and his family.

Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Ficker, Mark Ou

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