NOTE: The Font is a little different on this one because I’m cutting/pasting it from my copy of “Word”. Needed to refine a few things.
Gather ‘round, Boys & Girls, It’s time for another one of those stories where Dumb Luck makes a cameo appearance. There is a bit of background information in this one, so bear with me…
Every state has a Lottery (except strangely enough Nevada & Utah), My Lottery just started up this new thing where ANY Non-winning ticket can be used as an entry towards weekly prizes. Since I work in a highly populated city, it’s actually shockingly easy to grab several fistfuls of these tickets from nearby newsstands—The people who run the stands don’t care what happens to the trash; in fact, they think I’m doing them a favor by reducing their messes a little. Long story short, I usually grab enough dud tickets to play this game each day. So now I’m home, and I’m sorting through the tickets to make daily piles. Most of the tickets are intact, some of them are ripped in half (which can be used as long as the Bottom half remains), others are torn to confetti. When you enter a ticket into this contest, there’s a sequence of numbers on the front and the back of the ticket that you have to enter in order for the entry to count. Cut to today, when I enter my pile for the day. Sure enough, I come across one of these Half-Tickets. I enter the numbers, and the website tells me it’s an invalid entry. Very carefully, I read the numbers out loud as I type them again, I hit “submit” and sure enough, I get the same thing—“Invalid Entry”. Since the Top half of the ticket was missing, I didn’t know exactly what to look for or what the rules to that ticket was, so I couldn’t tell if this was legit or not.
Fortunately, most scratch-off tickets come with a barcode that you could then use at a given self-scanner machine at a nearby store…which is where I went next. I scanned the half-ticket, and much to my Amazement, the scanner told me that it was a $20 Winner. I scanned it again out of disbelief, it was Still a $20 Winner. I honestly couldn’t believe two things at that point; that I was holding a winning ticket right out of nowhere, and that someone in Midtown Manhattan was Stupid enough to throw it out in the first place. Unfortunately, my Joy was short-lived…it was the policy of the store I went to (and several others afterward) that in order for a lottery ticket to be properly claimed, the ENTIRE Ticket had to be accounted for; no halves, no money. Disappointed, but not deterred, I kept the half-ticket anyway. After I got off my bus to work, I noticed a place that sold Lottery games…….Via Automated Kiosk. So my next thought was, “If I’m not going to get any money for the ticket, I might as well turn it into a free play”. I scan the half-ticket into the kiosk, the Kiosk accepts it and gives me a $20 credit towards games. I then cover my eyes and start pushing random buttons as my free-play tickets dispense, and I make my way towards work afterward.
To the mystery person in Midtown Manhattan who accidentally threw away this half-ticket, I don’t want you to feel bad that you did—at least, don’t feel bad 100%; it’s a lottery ticket, it could happen to anyone in a go-go, rush-rush world like New York City. At the same time, you should probably feel a little stupid for doing so in the first place, because that $20 you threw away that I “Invested” 4 Scratch off tickets in wound up getting me $250 on one of them.
I Love New York…but I also Love good luck & greater timing. And as Cliché as it sounds, One Man’s Trash is……well, you know.