New York: An Indian business family has hit headlines and won hearts for returning a discarded lottery locket that turned out to be a USD 1 million winner, to its owner.
A woman in the US state of Massachusetts threw away her shot at USD 1 million. But , as luck would have it, that was not the end of it, thanks to an Indian-origin family who found the discarded the lucky lottery ticket was a winner and returned it to their long-time customer.
Lea Rose Fiega bought a Diamond Millions scratch-off ticket in March at Lucky Stop, a store owned by the Indian-origin family in Southwick, where she was a regular customer.
Fiega said on Monday that she was in a hurry on lunch break, scratched it in haste and in first glance it did not turn out to be a winner, and she threw it away.
But the ticket was not fully scratched off and it sat in a pile in the store for 10 days until Abhi Shah, son of the store owners, noticed the partially scratched USD 30 ticket in the trash, the New York Post reported.
Abhi said the winning ticket was sold by his mother Aruna Shah to one of their regular customers.
"One evening, I was going through the tickets from the trash and [noticed] that she didn't scratch the number. I scratched the number and it was USD 1 million underneath the ticket," Abhi was quoted as saying by the local TV station WWLP.
"I was a millionaire for a night," he joked.
Abhi said he initially thought of buying a Tesla car, but later decided to return the winning ticket.
I mean I had USD 1 million in my hand and on the other hand I wanted to do something good, he said.
The family said it was not an easy decision to return the ticket.
"We didn't sleep two nights," said Maunish Shah, owner of Lucky Spot.
"He called my mom, grandparents in India, they said,'Give it back, we don't want that money,' " Maunish said.
The family then decided to return the ticket. Since the customer was a frequent visitor to the store, finding him was easy.
The younger Shah came to find Fiega at work and told him that his parents wanted to see her, according to the lottery winner.
Fiega said she was working, but Shah insisted that he had to come over soon. So she came over only to see the big surprise.
The other customers of the store are not surprised, as the shop according to them had a good reputation.
The family is now fielding congratulatory calls and interview requests from across the country.
"If I had kept that million, I wouldn't have been this famous. So, I'm glad I gave it back," Abhi said.
(Based on PTI feed)