A Marine veteran won $1 million from a North Carolina lottery scratch-off ticket he had forgotten about buying.
“I bought the tickets before I left for Denver and just threw them in my book bag,” Yaheem Jones said in a statement. “I flew all the way to Denver with them and everything and I didn’t even know I was a winner until a couple of days later.”
He was cleaning out his book bag getting ready to fly home when he noticed the tickets.
“I had the flight pass, my itinerary, my checked bag passes and I see the tickets,” Jones said.
He scratched them off one by one, finally revealing the $1 million prize off a $10 Red Hot Riches ticket.
“At first, I didn’t believe it. I thought it was a joke,” Jones said. “I didn’t take my hand out of my pocket. Not one whole time.”
Jones, who works as a property manager, claimed the prize Tuesday. He chose a lump-sum payment, pocketing $424,503 after taxes.
Jones, who served as a combat engineer in the Marines, said he plans to add the winnings to his savings.