Dumpster Diving Finds Winning Lottery Ticket

After an Oregon Lottery retailer sifted through a dumpster to find a lost winning ticket for one of their players, excellent customer service may have a new standard.

Last week, Mary Peabody from Portland, won $1,200 playing Keno10-spot and took her ticket to The Lucky Spot to claim her prize. Since Mary’s prize was more than $600, the prize needed to be claimed at the Oregon Lottery and in the excitement she accidentally left her unsigned ticket behind.

The next day, when she realized she had left the unsigned ticket at The Lucky Spot, the ticket was nowhere to be found. By law, Lottery tickets belong to the person who signs the back of the ticket, which is why the Oregon Lottery always urges people to sign the back of their tickets as soon as possible.

“The clerk was really upset that the ticket was lost,” Peabody said. “At that point, we thought we had lost $1,200.”

But the staff at The Lucky Spot decided they wanted to make sure the ticket was truly gone.

“I thought it might have ended up in the garbage on accident,” said Dena Thompson, the manager at The Lucky Spot. “I went out to see if the dumpster had been emptied and it hadn’t yet. So my staff and some of my friends started looking for the ticket.”

Thompson said she thinks they went through six different large bags of garbage before the ticket was found, intact.

“I couldn’t help thinking that this was crazy, we found it!” she said. “We didn’t have a phone number for Mary, so we held onto it until she came in again. I am so proud of our staff for being so honest. Anyone could have found that ticket and signed the back and claimed the prize.”

“You don’t expect people to do that for you,” Peabody said. “She was almost in tears when she told me they found the ticket. The first thing we did was sign it!”

“The funny part is that this all happened during the Feast of Saint Anthony,” Larry Peabody, Mary’s husband of 60 years. “He is the patron saint of lost things.”

During the 2018 fiscal year, the Oregon Lottery awarded more than $2.6 billion in prizes and $725 million to state and local programs.

During the 2015-17 biennium, more than $109 million in Oregon Lottery proceeds were directed to economic development, parks, education and watershed enhancement in Multnomah County, where Peabody lives and purchased the ticket. Since 1985, Oregon Lottery players have won more than $38 billion in prizes.

The Oregon Lottery reminds players to always sign the back of their Lottery tickets, regardless of the game. In the event of winning a jackpot, they should consult with a trusted financial planner or similar professional to develop a plan for their winnings. Prize winners of more than $50,000 are advised to contact the Lottery office and schedule an appointment to claim their prize.

Source: Oregon Lottery

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