US: Indian-origin family returns $1 million lottery ticket to winner
A woman in Massachusetts, US threw away her shot at $1 million but got a second chance when an Indian-origin family returned the discarded lottery ticket to their long-time customer, earning appreciation for their honesty. 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.
Woman had left the ticket half scratched at the store
"I was in a hurry, on a lunch break, and just scratched it real quick, looked at it. It didn't look like a winner, so I handed it over to the owners of Lucky Stop to throw it away," Fiega said on Monday. But the ticket was not fully scratched off and it sat in a pile in the store for ten days.
The owners' son noticed the ticket and scratched it fully
Abhi Shah, son of the store owners, noticed the unfinished $30 ticket in the trash. "I scratched the number and it was $1 million underneath the ticket," Abhi said. The winning ticket was sold by Abhi's mother Aruna Shah. "I was a millionaire for a night. I thought of buying a Tesla car but later decided to return the winning ticket," Abhi said further.
For a moment, the family thought of keeping the ticket
The family said it was not an easy decision to return the ticket. "We didn't sleep for two nights," said Maunish Shah, owner of Lucky Spot. "We called my mom, grandparents in India and they told us to return the money," he added. The family then decided to return the ticket. Since she was a regular customer, they knew where to find her.
Shahs returned the ticket to a shocked but happy Fiega
The younger Shah came to find Fiega at work and told her that his parents wanted to see her, as told by Fiega. "I told him I was working, but he insisted for me to come over. So, I decided to go and that's when they told me. I was in total disbelief. I cried, I hugged them," Fiega said.
Shahs are flooded with congratulatory calls and interview requests
The other customers of the store are not surprised that the Shahs did the right thing. "They're just purely good people. You can tell by just talking to them," one customer said. The family is now fielding congratulatory calls and interview requests from across the country. "If I had kept that million, I wouldn't be famous. I'm glad I gave it back," Abhi said.