Have you ever bought a lottery ticket, shoved it somewhere, forgotten where it was and then unexpectedly realised that you had won over 20 million dollars? No? Well, neither have we - but that’s exactly what happened to the American Debbie Kujava, a mother of two from the city of Roseau, Minnesota.
Lottery tickets are often misplaced and ignored due to the astronomically high chances of actually picking the correct numbers. In Kujava’s case she bought a $7 bundle, which includes a package of different ticket types such as the Powerball, Mega Millions, Gopher 5 and Lotto America at a Holiday gas station in Roseau.
She purchased the actual ticket a little over a week ago and left it in her unzipped pocket. She spoke of forgetting the life-changing ticket in a press conference at the Minnesota State Lottery HQ:
"I bought it and stuck it in my pocket and forgot about it, pocket's unzipped, whatever, could've lost it,"
The 54 year old only remembered that she had the ticket last Thursday. She checked the lottery results on her phone and noticed that her winning numbers kept coming up a match. Finally Kujava realised that she had hit the jackpot with a $2 million win - but it wasn’t until her brother Dennis’ daughter Denise, corrected her math that she realised she had in fact won ten times more than that - $22.8 million.
"I looked and I thought, 'Oh my God, it can't be right. I looked at the date, looked at the numbers, put my glasses on top of my head—I wear bifocals—and looked again."
Debbie and Dennis have been buying lottery tickets as a team ever since the Minnesota Lottery was established way back in 1998. Their pact, a 50-50 split if either of them ever won and the most basic form of a syndicate, has now come true, with Dennis taking half of the winnings which he plans to split with his two daughters.
In a show of good faith, Debbie plans to donate some of her extra cash to charity, while Dennis will donate some of his to the local church. The pair are the first ever winners of the multistate ‘Lotto America’ jackpot game, which was introduced in November 2017. After winning, Debbie worked 12-hour shifts over the weekend at Roseau Lifecare Medical Center, where she is a nurse. She has now quit her job.
Many of us tend to assume we’ll never win the lotto, and while true for the vast majority, there’s always an extremely small chance that we will (in Debbie Kujava’s case it was 1 in 26 million to be precise). Kujava remembered her ticket, which is a superbly positive outcome, but is certainly not the case for all lotto players.
Traditional paper tickets are too often lost and ignored - and there is absolutely no obligation on any national lottery organisation to pay out on a missing ticket, even if you have definitive proof after losing it. Increasingly, the ritualistic lotto playing public are turning to online lotteries and jackpots to ensure that their tickets remain safe.
When playing online lotto you don’t need a physical ticket, but rather an account where your digital ticket is stored, thus removing the chance that your ticket will be lost or forgotten about. So, if you’d rather not take the chance of losing your lottery ticket check out some of the top online lotto sites today!