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We’ve all had our lucky days, but none as lucky as Jimmie Smith’s. The retired security guard had the luckiest of all lucky days after finding a winning jackpot lottery ticket in the pocket of an old shirt. Not only was he lucky enough to have the $24.1 million New York LOTTO ticket, but he also was able to claim the ticket just two days before it was set to expire.
Smith, 68, told the gaming commission that he’s been buying lottery tickets in New York and New Jersey since the 60s. Naturally, the one time he struck gold, he didn’t even realize.
Smith bought the winning ticket in May 2016. The ticket was found amongst other tickets that were left in the shirt, unchecked. He thought to check the tickets after a TV report about how time was running out for the winner to claim the lottery prize.
"I ended up with a stack - a pile of tickets, including the one they were talking about on the news," Smith told lottery officials. "I stood there for a minute thinking, 'Do I see what I think I see? I had to stick my head out the window and breathe some fresh air. I was in serious doubt. I really had to convince myself this was real."
According to the New York Daily News, Smith bought the winning ticket in Tribeca at Renu Corp Grocery & Tobacco.
The father of two and grandfather of twelve is choosing to to be paid out over a 26-year period. Smith is planning to have an “all-family” meeting to discuss how the winnings will be split up, according to the gaming commission.
The winning numbers were 5-12-13-22-25 and 35.