Lottery Lost and Found

By Larry Teren

Recently, we’ve seen some weird things happening in the scramble for lottery tickets. Not too long ago, one Baltimore county lady got her fifteen minutes of fame by jumping the gun and claiming she was one of the three official winners to the largest MegaMillions payout ever. Then a day or two later after becoming the darling of the news media set, she admitted she had not looked at her “winning” ticket closely and acknowledged that maybe not all the numbers matched.


In the meantime, her quick desire to grab for the gusto caused a lot of ill will with her co-workers who claimed that they gave her the money to purchase lottery tickets as a group. They demanded she share the money. In the end, it was someone else who claimed the winnings and the lady with the erstwhile stardust demeanor went back to working for a living like the rest of us albeit with a few less friendly co-workers.


Now comes word that a judge in Arkansas incredibly awarded a winning lottery ticket back to a lady who had thrown it away in a garbage can. Another lady who had a hobby of rummaging through trash for discarded lottery tickets found it and claimed her million dollar winner. The judge said that throwing lottery tickets in a garbage can does not constitute giving up on ownership- geesh! In the meantime, the one who cashed in the ticket was apoplectic because she had already used some of the winnings to buy a new truck and give cash to her children.  This could never happen to me as I  discard lottery tickets in the privacy of my own misery.


Which reminds me of the time a couple of years ago I took Ma to a ballgame at Wrigley Field. We stayed until the very end of a happy outcome and made our way towards the ballpark exit near Sheffield and Addison. Just as we were exiting the building, an usherette handed each of us a scratch-off coupon from a unisex haircut franchise store called SuperCuts. I had no use for it and started to walk toward an outdoor garbage can near the curb on Sheffield to toss mine in. Ma saw my action and handed her coupon to me saying, “here!”. I thought her gesture meant that she had no use for it either.

So I took her coupon and threw it in the garbage can as well.


The next thing I hear is Ma yelling at me, “hey, what did you do that for?” I replied, “why? You don’t go to SuperCuts. You go to a beauty parlor, right?” She said, “No! I stopped a couple of years ago when my social security benefits went down after Dad died. Your sister takes me to SuperCuts.”


I said, “oh, well.”

She said, “get the coupon and check it.”

I said, “Ma- I ain’t putting my hand in that garbage can feeling for a coupon.”

She said, “yes you are.”

So I saw that there was an unscratched coupon near the top of the can and figured it mind as well be hers. I grabbed it, scratched it and it magically displayed that she was entitled to 50% off her next visit to SuperCuts.


Uh, do me a favor. Don’t tell this to a certain lady in Arkansas. She may insist that she was visiting Wrigley Field that day and it was her ticket.



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