Everyone has that spot in their house or car where they let the mail and receipts pile up. A 68 year old Jimmie Smith was an old shirt hanging in his closet. Stuffed in its pockets was an unchecked lottery tickets. “I always told myself, ‘I’ll check them when I have the time,'” Jimmie said.
It’s a miralce he did because had he waited two days longer, he would have lost out on $24 million.
More than a year ago Jimmie bought a ticket to the New York Lotto. The winning numbers for the May 25, 2016 drawing were: 05, 12, 13, 22 ,25, 35. The New York Gaming Commission knew the winning ticket, more than $24 million, was sold at a bodega in New York City but it did not know who bought the ticket. Winners have only one year to claim the prize and that expiration day was quickly approaching.
So earlier this year New York Lottery started to get the word out. “We urge New York Lottery players: Check your pockets, check your glove box. Look under the couch cushions. If you have this winning ticket we look forward to meeting you,” said Gweneth Dean, director of the Commission’s Division of the Lottery.
‘Do I see what I think I see?’
Smith a retired security officer, heard about a news story to search for the mystery winner. That inspired him to find and check his old tickets. He went up to the closet where the old shirt hung. When the numbers matched up, stood there for a minute and thinking, ‘Do I see what I think I see? I had to stick my head out the window and breathe in some fresh air. i was in serious doubt and i really had to convince myself this was real” he said.
This happened on May 23 2017. He would have been ineligible to collect after May 25, 2017. On Wednesday the New York Lottery declare Smith’s name after completing a review. “We are thrilled that this lucky winner was able to locate this life changing ticket,” Dean, of the gaming commission, said.
Smith chose to receive his payments over the course of 26 years.
A father of two and grandfather of 12, he said he plans to have an “all-family discussion” once things settle down.