An unemployed New Jersey man who won last Friday’s $273 million Mega Millions jackpot said he wants to reward the mystery person who returned the tickets to a store where he’d left them a day earlier. (March 7)
A New Jersey lottery winner says his $273 million Mega Millions win was only possible because a stranger helped reunite him with the winning ticket.
Winner Mike Weirsky, 54, recounted the story at a press conference on Thursday. Weirsky said that immediately after he bought lottery tickets last Thursday at a Phillipsburg, New Jersey, QuickChek store, he became distracted by his phone and accidentally left the tickets at the store.
He spent hours searching for them at home before returning to the store the next day, ahead of the March 1 drawing. There, he was told someone had turned in the tickets.
“I was just very thankful that there was an honest person out there, because I figured it was gone,” he said at the press conference.
Weirsky soon learned that one of the returned tickets won the $273 million jackpot.
“I’m looking for the guy that handed them in, I want to thank him,” Weirsky said. “I’m going to give him something, but I’m going to keep that private.”
A lottery official said during the press conference that if a person had kept the ticket, that person could have claimed the jackpot prize.
The cash value of the prize is about $162 million, and Weirsky said he plans to take his winnings in a lump sum.
Weirsky said he is recently divorced and is unemployed. Searching for work will no longer be a priority for him, he said.
After he collects his winnings, Weirsky said he plans to buy a new pickup truck. He also plans to buy his mother a new car and pay to remodel her home.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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