Jimmie Smith is a busy man but always told himself when he had the time he'd go through the pockets of an old shirt in his closet filled with unchecked lottery tickets. Thankfully the 68-year-old did because had he waited two more days he would've missed out on $24.1 million.
About a year ago, Smith purchased a lottery ticket in New York. The winning combination for the May 25, 2016 drawing was 05 - 12 - 13 - 22 - 25 - 35. The New York Gaming Commission knew the winning ticket was purchased at a Bodega in New York, but didn't know who the winner was.
As standard protocol, winners have one year to claim the prize and Mr. Smith's deadline was looming so earlier this year officials got the word out a $24.1 million lottery ticket still had not been claimed.
"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," Gweneth Dean, director of the Commission's Division of the Lottery, said.
After seeing the commercial, Smith went upstair to check the pockets of his shirt and when he saw the matching numbers, he needed a moment to process it all.
"Do I see what I think I see?'" Smith questioned. "I had to stick my head out the window and breathe in some fresh air. I was in serious doubt. I really had to convince myself this was real."
Smith quickly claimed his winning and the commission recently released his name. The retired security guard has decided to receive his earnings in small amounts for the next 36 years and said once all the dust settles he's going to have a family discussion with his two children and 12 grandchildren.
Congrats Mr. Smith.