Woman Wins $25 Million Lottery Thanks to a Mistake

Lottery moneyYou know those lottery ads that say you can't win if you don't play? Well, it turns out you can actually win the lottery if you play by mistake.

That's apparently what happened to Kathy Scruggs, a 44-year-old unemployed woman from Georgia who tried to buy a Mega Millions ticket in September but was handed a Powerball ticket she hadn't requested by the clerk as well. Rather than handing the extra ticket back, Scruggs decided, what the heck, she'd take them both.

That "mistake" of a multistate Powerball ticket turned out to be a winner, worth $25 million -- and Scruggs claimed her prize (she took the cash option, so it'll come out to be a mere $15,124,017) on Monday.


Of course we're all delighted for Scruggs, who says she'll use her winnings to buy a new car, do some traveling, and help out family and friends, but what I really want to know is ... why don't mistakes like this happen to me?

I will admit that I did once, when I was a totally broke graduate student, find $100 lying on a bar floor (apparently belonging to no one; I did try to look around, though you can't very well walk up to someone in a dirty, crowded dive, wave $100 in cash, say, "Hey, did you drop this?" and expect an honest answer). With that unexpected (and, OK, unearned) windfall in my pocket, I wish-shopped for weeks afterward. (In my head, I spent it many times over -- on shoes and fabulous blouses I saw in shop windows -- but probably just ended up spending it on groceries.)

I've come to feel that that $100 find balances out some of the $5s, $10s, and $20s that have fallen out of my pockets over the years. But let's face it, it's no $25 million (or $15,124,017, or whatever Scruggs snagged thanks to some scatterbrained store clerk).

What about you? Have you ever had a big surprise windfall? What's the best mistake you've ever benefited from?


Image via Lisa Brewster/Flickr

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