Some players get their numbers from fortune cookies, others get them from family birthdays and anniversaries, Mary Wollens winning numbers came to her in a prophetic dream that included a lottery ticket and a large check. When the octogenarian from Toronto, Canada, woke up one morning with six numbers in her head, she decided to buy a lottery ticket.
She was so certain she would win that the following day she purchased another ticket for the same drawing with the exact same numbers. Sure enough, each one of her numbers came up. One other person guessed all six numbers but because Wollens had the gut instinct to buy two tickets, she got to take home $16 million, two-thirds of the $24 million jackpot.
Arnim Ramdass was a member of a $10.2 million lottery pool with 17 of his airline mechanic coworkers. Ramdass decided not to tell his wife, Donna Campbell, about the win but began exhibiting some strange behavior that made Campbell suspicious. Only after searching his name on Google did she discover that he had won the lottery. When she confronted him about his $600,000 cut, Ramdass made some excuses and then disappeared.
Campbell sued him for half the money but he was on the run and process servers had a hard time locating him. When they eventually appeared in court, the Miami, FL judge determined that Campbell was not entitled to his winnings. The home they once shared has been foreclosed. Campbell was evicted and is now homeless. Her lawyers are modifying their lawsuit to prove that the money for the ticket came out of his work salary which would entitle her to half in the divorce.
One man’s forgetfulness turned into a blessing. Derek Ladner, of the United Kingdom, bought a ticket, forgot about it, and then purchased a second ticket with the same numbers for the July 11, 2007 National Lottery drawing. Derek and his wife Dawn were thrilled when their numbers came up and they claimed their share of the prize that was split between five winners. It wasn’t until a week later, when Mr. Ladner was purchasing another ticket that he found the second winning ticket in his wallet and remembered what had happened. The second ticket entitled him to another share of the jackpot doubling his winnings to £958,284, instead of his original share of £479,142, had he only bought one ticket.
The Ladners plan to retire, take a nice holiday, and enjoy more time on their hobbies. They also intend to keep playing their lucky numbers. According to BBC News, Ladner said, “they say lightning never strikes twice but it did, so perhaps it’ll strike three times.”
Everyone knows the saying you have to play to win, but many seem to be forgetting that you have to check your numbers to claim a prize. An astonishing number of prizes go unclaimed in lotteries every year. The rules vary from state to state, lottery to lottery, but the majority allows one year to claim any prize winnings. If no one claims the prize money within the given time, the money is returned to the prize pool for future games and promotions.
One New Jersey winner, Melvin Milligan, was saved by a postmark date. Milligan had purchased the winning ticket in June 2000, put it in the junk drawer and forgot to check the drawing’s results. Nearly a year later, he was watching the news and they mentioned that a winning ticket remained unclaimed and was about to expire. Milligan dug through the junk drawer, located the ticket and immediately went to the store to have the ticket confirmed a $46 million winner. He signed the ticket, put it in an envelope and mailed it to the Lottery Headquarters.
Frano Selak of Croatia has cheated death more than just about anyone. In 1962, Selak was a passenger on a train that derailed and plummeted into a frozen river killing 17 other passengers. Less than a year later, Selak took his first and only flight. An accident occurred and the cockpit door flew off, sucking him and 19 others out of the plane. The other passengers died but Selak landed in a haystack and walked away with minor injuries.
Four years after the plane incident, Selak was on a bus that crashed and killed four people. He walked away unharmed. He managed to escape two burning cars in 1970 and 1973. In 1995, he was hit by a city bus and again walked away with minor injuries.
His last, but certainly not least survival story happened in 1996 when he drove off a cliff to avoid an oncoming truck. He managed to jump out of the car, land in a tree, and watched his car fall 300 feet. With seven amazing survival stories you would think his life couldn’t get more interesting, but then in 2003, Selak, at the age of 74, hit the Croatian Lottery Jackpot and won $1,000,000. It was the first time he had ever played.
Gregory Jarrett, from Decatur, Georgia recently cleaned his room and found a winning Powerball ticket! The original drawing was held earlier this year and luckily for Jarrett, he found his ticket in time to claim his prize.
His winning numbers, 7-8-9-24-29, were worth $1,000,000. These lucky numbers hold a special meaning to him; they are his siblings’ birth dates.
In disbelief, he had to ask his mom to help verify the numbers. Jarrett plans on paying off bills with his winnings.
Each year, it is estimated that over $800 million in prize money is left unclaimed. Although some of these are small prizes, others are larger sums and could even be worth $1,000,000!
Ruth Breen, mom and midwife, can now add millionaire to her list of titles. This Wigan area woman recently collected £1,000,000 in the National Lottery. She was at work when she received her notification email and had to have a co-worker help her verify it was real.
Breen paid off her mortgage with her winnings and indulged herself with a new pair of Jimmy Choos and a matching clutch. She also plans on supporting the Amanda Penk Fund named for her late friend and fellow midwife. This charity raises money for vital maternity care equipment. Her latest planned purchase with her lottery money is a pair of season tickets for her and her daughter to the Wigan Warriors games.
She does plan on continuing her work as a midwife and feels blessed to be able to have such a fortunate job.
Flossie Endreson played the lottery for years. Learning from their mother, the Endreson family continued to play the lottery after her death. The 17 siblings started to pool their money together for lottery tickets about ten years ago.
Sigrid Endreson was holding the winning ticket for the Pick 6 game for about two weeks before remembering to check the numbers. She did so while out at a local grocery store and had to call one of her sisters to come get her because she was so overcome with emotion.
This large New Jersey family recently cashed in their winning ticket for $14 million or around $10 million after taxes. Many of the family members were affected by the storm Sandy and will use that money to continue rebuilding and support local charities.
The jackpot will be split among the children and a few grandchildren. Hopefully this family tradition will carry down to the next generation of Endresons.
How long is too long to play the same lottery numbers? One Australia man would tell you there is no limit to how many years to play those lucky numbers. He recently won $1,006,962.55 in the lottery with numbers he’s been playing for 20 years.
He originally used a Quick Pick for his lottery numbers and continued to use them until he just hit the jackpot earlier this month. The Port Macquarie man didn’t immediately check his numbers, but when he did he was shocked to find out he had won the division one lottery.
This persistent winner remains anonymous and hasn’t decided what he’ll do with his winning jackpot yet. His winning numbers were 24, 34, 1, 25, 6, 29 and supplemental numbers 17 & 45.
Irony is not lost on Tennessee’s newest millionaire, Roy Cockrum. Years ago as part of his religious beliefs, Cockrum took a vow of poverty. He became a millionaire in July taking home Tennessee’s largest Powerball prize in state history. He believes taking that vow has helped him handle the overwhelming pressure that comes with winning a large sum of money.
Originally an actor, Cockrum left his Knoxville home for the bright lights of the stage. When his aging parents needed help, he returned to his Tennessee home to care for them. He purchased his winning ticket after shopping at a neighborhood Kroger store.
Cockrum didn’t come forward immediately after winning, but first enlisted the help of a financial advisor before even telling his family of his amazing win. He has planned to put some money aside as a pension of sorts for himself, to start a foundation to support non-profits for the performing arts and to support other charities.