via James LeVeque / Flickr

As the old quote goes, "Life is like a ferris wheel. Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down. In the end, you just have to learn to enjoy the ride."

Nobody knows that better than Ronnie Foster, a retired Department of Transportation worker in North Carolina.

Foster was en route to his final chemotherapy treatment for colon cancer at a local hospital when he stopped by a Short Stop convenience store Beulaville. He won $5 off of a $1 scratcher and decided to double-down and get two more tickets with his winnings.


The second of the two tickets was a $200,000 winner. But he didn't believe it until he handed it to the store clerk to verify the ticket through the scanner.

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"I saw all those zeroes and I froze," Foster said in a statement. "When it showed, 'Go to lottery headquarters,' I started shaking. I couldn't believe it."

For Foster, the winnings served to make a great day even better.

"I was already happy because it was my last round of chemo," Foster told officials from the NC Lottery. "Winning this made it my lucky day."

After state and federal tax withholdings, he's taking home $141,501. He says that he'll use some of it to pay for his medical expenses and the rest will go into savings.

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"I have good insurance," Foster said. "But there is still some cost. This will make it a whole lot easier.

According to the North Carolina Education Lottery's website, it raised more than $700 million last year for education.

Life is strange in strange in that some unfortunate events can lead to fortunate happenings. If Foster didn't have cancer, he most likely wouldn't have stopped off at the liquor store at that exact moment and bought a lottery ticket.

It's a great lesson on keeping optimistic, even in the worst of times, because every day is an opportunity for something truly magical to happen.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

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