It’s everyone’s dream come true – you’re going about your day as normal, when two people from Lotto NZ approach you and say that they think you’ve won $5.5 million.
This dream became a reality for a Morrinsville man last week – changing his life forever.
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, was completely oblivious that he had been driving around with a multi-million dollar winning ticket in his glove box for nearly a month.
“My daughter had been hounding me to check my ticket, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it,” says the man.
“I never once thought I would be the lucky winner anyway – it’s unbelievable!
“It was such a shock when the Lotto people approached me and told me they thought I was the owner of a ticket worth $5.5 million,” said the man. “I just kept thinking, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’… but they weren’t!
“They asked me if I had my ticket with me – which I did, so we checked off the numbers manually using the Lotto NZ App. All of them matched and the first thing the lady said was to write my name on the back.
“That’s when it hit me, and I thought to myself ‘oh my God, this is life-changing.
“Next time I’ll listen to my daughter when she tells me to check my ticket!," he says.
Lotto NZ knew it was odd for such a large prize to go unclaimed for a few weeks, so set about trying to find the missing winner.
“Powerball winners usually claim their prize within a few days of winning, so after a couple of weeks of waiting for them to come forward, we decided to try and track the winner down,” says Marie Winfield, Head of Communications and CSR for Lotto NZ.
“We were absolutely thrilled to be able to track the ticket to the lucky winner as there was a digital footprint that created a path and helped us to identify them. We are so pleased for the winner and his family,” says Marie.
The two Lotto NZ employees who broke the good news to the man, say it was a memorable experience.
“It’s not every day you get to approach someone on the street and tell them that we think they are a multi-millionaire,” says Marie.
“They said the best thing was seeing the look on the man’s face when he checked the ticket and he realised they weren’t joking, describing it as ‘absolutely priceless.’”
After being informed about his win, the man went home to tell his wife the great news.
“He came home and said ‘we need to go up to Auckland this week love…. I’ve won Lotto’ it was unbelievable really, but I knew he was telling the truth,” she says.
Next, the man called his daughter.
“I just called her and said, ‘guess what... two Lotto people visited me today to tell me I was the $5.5 million Morrinsville winner.
“It still sounds weird saying it.”
The family visited Lotto NZ Head Office in Auckland this week to claim their prize and finally celebrate their win.
With the money now safely in the bank account of its rightful owner, thoughts have turned to the family’s future and the difference the prize will make.
“We’ve not made any big decisions yet, but we’d really like to pay off the mortgage first. After that I want to make sure my kids are set up for the future – those are the two biggest things.”
The winning ticket was sold at Paper Plus Morrinsville for the draw on Saturday, October 17.
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