A mistake led to a $10 million jackpot win for an upstate New York man who returned to a convenience store and purchased a $20 scratch-off ticket he originally rejected.
Jerry Kajfasz, a 53-year-old from suburban Buffalo, N.Y., purchased seven scratch-off lottery tickets from his local Depew One Stop convenience store on Jan. 18. He realized the clerk had accidentally given him an additional eighth ticket he hadn't paid for.
After handing back the unpaid for ticket, Kajfasz walked out of the store only to return soon after having won $25 from the seven scratch-offs he had purchased.
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"I kept winning on the scratch-off tickets. I won like seven in a row," Kajfasz told the New York Daily News
Deciding to press his luck, the 53-year-old father of two used the winnings to purchase the same $20 "Win for Spectacular Life" scratch-off ticket that he had initially been handed as a mistake.
Not trusting his own eyes after scratching the ticket, Kajfasz handed it back to the clerk, 22-year-old Kuljit Singh, and asked him to look at the ticket.
"He asked me if I had good eyesight," Singh, who says he frequently sells cigars and lottery tickets to Kajfasz, told the Daily News on Wednesday. "He said, 'Am I looking at this right?' And I said, 'You are. You're a winner!' He was shaking and everything."
"I probably looked over the ticket half a dozen times," Kajfasz added. "I now call it the one that almost got away."
Kajfasz immediately called his wife of 30 years and told her of his good fortune, though he said she didn't initially comprehend the extent of his win.
"She said, 'Oh, so you won again?'" Kajfasz said laughing.
Kajfasz, an Amherst printing company employee of 27 years, reportedly rushed home with a bottle of champagne and quickly called his adult children – Jackie and Frank.
According to the lotto winner's son, his father was a bit coy on the phone, refusing to say why he was asking them to come over immediately.
"He wouldn't tell me what happened," Frank Kajfasz told the Buffalo News
. "I said, 'Did you win the lottery?'"
"Well, I didn't want to tell you this way," his father replied. "Come over as soon as possible. I have some champagne."
Kajfasz reportedly plans to split the $10 million winnings with his children. Of the annual $500,000 that he will receive before taxes, Kajfasz plans to keep $450,000 for he and his wife and divide the remaining $50,000 between his two kids.
Kajfasz, who collected his first check with his family on Tuesday, also says he plans to travel to his native Poland, telling the Daily News that, "the trip was in the works, but this will help make it happen a lot sooner than we planned."
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