Against All Odds: Three Bizarre US Lottery Wins Make Headlines This Week

  • A man recovering from heart surgery won $1m with the word ‘HEART’ appearing on the puzzle
  • A retired housekeeper won $50,000 in her third win from a ticket bought at the same store
  • A truck driver mistakenly bought two lottery tickets with the same numbers, winning two prizes
Lottery ticket on money
Three individuals from different US states recently enjoyed bizarre lottery wins. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Three unique winning tales

Fortune smiled on three lottery players from Massachusetts, Maryland, and North Carolina in a bizarre fashion over the past week. They made headlines for cashing in winning tickets all with their own unique backstories.

First up is a feel-good story from New England, where a man recuperating from heart surgery has claimed a $1m win on a lottery ticket gifted to him by a friend. The Massachusetts State Lottery took to Twitter to share Alexander McLeish’s “HEART-warming” win:

Following McLeish’s tale are two similarly bizarre stories. One Maryland woman secured a $50,000 winning ticket from the exact same store where she had won twice before. Meanwhile, a man in North Carolina mistakenly purchased two winning tickets, doubling his breathtaking prize.

A story with lots of heart

In New England, local resident Alexander McLeish is still recovering from heart surgery after going through the procedure earlier this month. Hopefully, his $1m lottery win will make the process a little easier to bear.

his scratch-off puzzle spelled out the word ‘HEART’

McLeish’s windfall came after a friend enclosed his winning Cashword ticket in a ‘get-well-soon’ card. Not only did the scratch-off ticket reveal the Attleborough man’s initials, but the winning letters on his scratch-off puzzle spelled out the word ‘HEART.’

According to Mass Lottery, McLeish claimed his prize at its Dorchester HQ on Friday, opting for the cash option for which he received a one-time payment of $650,000 (before taxes). As if the heart connection wasn’t enough of an omen, McLeish also once won a $1,000 prize from a ticket the same friend gave him as a birthday present.

Third time’s the charm

Next, we head south to Maryland, where the stars aligned for a Montgomery County woman. The unnamed 61-year-old won the top prize of $50,000 after recently buying two $5 Lucky scratch-off tickets in the Maryland Lottery, the state body reported.

Nothing unique in Fortune’s smile there. However, the twist lies in the location where she purchased the ticket, Talbert’s Ice & Beverage Service in Bethesda. It’s the same store where she purchased winning tickets for the same amount twice before, taking her total prize to $150,000.

For playing its part in the Montgomery County woman’s win yet again, Talbert’s will receive a $500 bonus from the Maryland Lottery. The champagne corks will probably pop at Quickeez Beer, Wine, and Convenience Store over in Carver, Massachusetts too. The New England store will receive a $10,000 bonus for its sale of McLeish’s $1m ticket.

The retired housekeeper told lottery officials of her surprise and shock at the time. “I just didn’t believe it, again! People play every day and not win […] It’s amazing that I won three times,” she commented.

A very fruitful mistake

From Maryland we head down south to North Carolina, where a Fayetteville man reaped two huge lottery wins, one coming entirely by accident. The North Carolina Education Lottery (NC Lottery) took to Twitter to share dump-truck driver Scotty Thomas’s bizarre twist of luck:

According to the News & Observer, Thomas accidentally bought two $2 Lucky for Life lottery tickets on his smartphone “with the same numbers” via the NC Lottery’s Online Play program. Thomas said he thought he’d made the purchase while watching a basketball game, but the next morning he wasn’t so sure and repeated the transaction.

Thomas then received two emails notifying him he’d won two $25,000 a year for life prizes, reported the NC Lottery. “When I realized I won, I had to lay down on the floor because I really just couldn’t believe it,” Thomas said.

At the age of 49, the Fayetteville man could have taken both prizes as annuities, which would have landed him $50,000 every year for the rest of his living days. Alternatively, he could have taken one prize as an annuity and the second as a lump sum of $390,000. In the end, Thomas accepted both prizes as lump-sum payments totaling $780,000 which, after required taxes, left him with $551,851.