When the owners of the Lucky Stop convenience store in Southwick, Massachusetts discovered a $1 million winning lottery ticket in a stack of discarded tickets, they could have kept it for themselves or given it to a friend or family member. Instead, they returned it to the woman who had bought it and accidentally tossed it aside—an act of integrity and honesty that both heartwarming and inspiring.
Lea Fiega bought a $30 Diamond Millions scratch-off ticket at the end of March, but she didn't scratch the ticket fully. If she had, she would have noticed two matching numbers that indicated she had won $1 million.
"I was in a hurry, on lunch break, and just scratched it real quick, and looked at it, and it didn't look like a winner, so I handed it over to them to throw away," she told the Associated Press according to WACH News.
The ticket sat in a wastebasket of discarded tickets for 10 days, until the store owners looked through them before permanently throwing them away.
"One evening, I was going through the tickets from the trash and found out that she didn't scratch the number," Abhi Shah, the son of the store owners told WWLP-TV. "I scratched the number and it was $1 million underneath the ticket."
"I was a millionaire for a night," Shah told CBS News. He began thinking of all the things he could do with the money.
But the family consulted together the next morning, even calling Shah's grandparents in India for their input. Fiega was a regular customer at the store, and the Shahs knew that the ticket had belonged to her. They also knew that she obviously hadn't meant to throw away a million dollars.
Shah told CBS News that his grandmother said, 'Let's not keep the ticket. It's not right. Just give it back to them. If it's in your luck, you will get it anyhow.'"
So that's what they did. And boy was Fiega surprised when Abhi Shah showed up at her workplace.
"He came to my office and said 'my mom and dad would like to see you,'" Fiega told WACH News. "I said 'I'm working,' and he said 'no you have to come over.' So I went over there and that's when they told me. I was in total disbelief. I cried, I hugged them."
Million-dollar lottery ticket returned to winner who mistakenly discarded it www.youtube.com
Fiega had already felt incredibly lucky after she nearly died earlier this year after contracting COVID-19. Getting the news from her local convenience store that she had accidentally thrown away a million dollars and that the owners were returning it to her was nearly unbelievable.
"I mean, who does that? They're great people. I am beyond blessed," she said.
Fiega told WACH that she gave the family part of her winnings and that she's saving the rest for retirement. The store owners also receive $10,000 from the state lottery commission for selling the winning ticket.
Other regular customers told CBS News that they were not surprised by the Shahs' kindness and selflessness in returning the winning ticket.
"They're just purely good people," one customer said. "You can tell just by talking to them."
Thank you, Shah family, for serving as an example of doing the right thing even when you don't have to, and for giving us all a boost of faith in humanity.
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