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Lost lottery ticket worth $50,000 returned to winner

Tennessee LotteryTennessee Lottery: Lost lottery ticket worth $50,000 returned to winner
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John Holder must have felt like he couldn't win for losing.

The 45-year-old Columbia resident worked as a roofer until a back injury forced him to live on disability benefits. He's resided at an assisted living facility since December.

Then on Sept. 2 Holder's luck seemed to change. That's when he bought a winning scratch-off ticket worth $50,000 from a local convenience store. That same day, the ticket went missing.

He purchased the $2 "Jumbo Bucks" instant ticket at the Gulf station at 235 E. James Campbell Blvd. in Columbia while with a friend and a neighbor who had asked him for a ride. When they got back in the car, Holder's neighbor asked if he could hold the ticket.

"He wanted to take a picture of it with his phone, and he took a picture of it and said he couldn't get a good enough picture of it. So he said, 'Can I hold it?' and I let him hold it," Holder explained.

He said he drove his neighbor home. The ticket was nowhere to be found.

Holder reported the ticket missing to the Columbia Police Department and the Tennessee Lottery. He told them surveillance videos at the convenience store recorded the winning transaction.

Luckily for Holder, his signature was on the back of the ticket. A winning lottery ticket is worth cash to anyone who finds it until it's signed.

But without the original ticket, it was unclear whether he would ever receive his prize.

Then an anonymous envelope containing the winning ticket was mailed to the Tennessee Lottery headquarters in Nashville. The letter-sized envelope had no return address, and only the number "50,000" was written on the outside. It was postmarked "Nashville, TN." No message was included other than the words "lost and found" written on a piece of notebook paper folded inside.

Lottery officials called Holder Wednesday to tell him the ticket was found. After verifying the signature and Holder's identification, the ticket was validated and he collected his prize Thursday.

"I'm speechless," Holder said in a lottery press release. "It's good to know someone had a conscience and decided to give this back to me."

A copy of the ticket is now part of a permanent display at the Gulf Station that sold it. The clerk who sold the ticket said Holder's winnings are the largest the store has ever seen."We're delighted this all worked out, and it's a great lesson for all our winners. Always sign your ticket," said Rebecca Hargrove, president and CEO of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.

Holder said he plans to use his winnings to help his two daughters and to catch up on bills.

"I figured the ticket was gone," Holder said.  "I figured it was burned, destroyed, torn up, something.  I mean, if I had stolen a $50,000 ticket, that's what I would have done with it.  I'm not going to go give it back to the person I stole it from."

"All I can say is thank you. They didn't destroy it, so no hard feelings."

Rebecca Hargrove, President and CEO of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation said, "Thankfully, Mr. Holder followed the recommendation from the store clerk where the ticket was purchased and signed it on the back."

"We're delighted this all worked out, and it's a great lesson for all our winners.  Always sign your ticket."

Columbia police could not be reached Thursday to discuss the status of the investigation.

News story photo(Click to display in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

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35 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by rdgrnr.
Page 1 of 3
rdgrnr's avatar - walt
-Ridge Runner- Oracle of the Appalachians
Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
United States
Member #73904
April 28, 2009
14743 Posts
Offline
Posted: September 23, 2011, 8:25 pm - IP Logged

His neighbor asked if he could hold it and then it got lost before they got out of the car?

Wow, that's a tough one to figure out who had it and realized they couldn't cash it in without getting caught and so just mailed it in.

Cuz don'tcha know everybody who happens to find a winning $50,000 lottery ticket just mails it in anonymously. 

Yeah, right.

Two things saved him - his signature and his neighbor's guilty conscience.


                                             
                     
                                         

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                   

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                            --Edmund Burke

 

 

    dr65's avatar - black panther.jpg
    Pennsylvania
    United States
    Member #74096
    May 2, 2009
    15839 Posts
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    Posted: September 23, 2011, 8:32 pm - IP Logged

    I'd like to see an interview with the neighbor...heck, I'd like to SEE the neighbor. Conehead

      jackpotismine's avatar - kanji for_peace.jpg
      Kunming
      China
      Member #57910
      January 23, 2008
      3315 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: September 23, 2011, 8:40 pm - IP Logged

      His neighbor asked if he could hold it and then it got lost before they got out of the car?

      Wow, that's a tough one to figure out who had it and realized they couldn't cash it in without getting caught and so just mailed it in.

      Cuz don'tcha know everybody who happens to find a winning $50,000 lottery ticket just mails it in anonymously. 

      Yeah, right.

      Two things saved him - his signature and his neighbor's guilty conscience.

      True rdgrnr but just think what whoever took it (stole it) could have done with the ticket once they knew it couldn't be cashed by them. Just to be mean, the person could have destroy the ticket! Wow! Indeed this man was lucky it was returned.

      G15=----3-6-9-10-13-16-19-20-23-26-29-30-33-36-39 

      G8=-----12-15-18-21-24-27-28-37 

      G16=-- -1-2-4-5-7-8-11-14-17-22-25-31-32-34-35-38

      China's Pick 3 results. Results are in decending order. Click here


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        Keokuk,Iowa
        United States
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        September 12, 2011
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        Posted: September 23, 2011, 8:50 pm - IP Logged

        With neighbors like that its time to find a new neighborhood.

          Empress-N's avatar - voodoo
          If That # Looks Good, Play It!!!
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          Posted: September 23, 2011, 9:00 pm - IP Logged

          "It's good to know someone had a conscience and decided to give this back to me."

          Very happy for him, he was smart enough to sign it. Well done!!!

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            rdgrnr's avatar - walt
            -Ridge Runner- Oracle of the Appalachians
            Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
            United States
            Member #73904
            April 28, 2009
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            Offline
            Posted: September 23, 2011, 9:16 pm - IP Logged

            True rdgrnr but just think what whoever took it (stole it) could have done with the ticket once they knew it couldn't be cashed by them. Just to be mean, the person could have destroy the ticket! Wow! Indeed this man was lucky it was returned.

            Yep, he coulda rernt the ticket but this here being Tennessee and all, they ain't no tellin, he mighta knowed that that ol' boy lived by the feud and he mighta liked to got his head blowed clean off too.


                                                         
                                 
                                                     

             

             

             

             

                                                                                                               

            "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                        --Edmund Burke

             

             

              NativeSlew67's avatar - 52982010151414212343150
              Nassau
              Bahamas
              Member #95057
              August 2, 2010
              1621 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: September 23, 2011, 11:12 pm - IP Logged

              What a great story! Reminds me of the old Bahamian adage "what fa you, fa you"! (What is meant for you, nobody can take from you). Nice work Todd.

              "In Vegas, I got into a long argument with the man at the roulette wheel over what I considered to be an odd number."

                TheOtherOne's avatar - Lottery-027.jpg
                Nashville, TN
                United States
                Member #86740
                February 9, 2010
                476 Posts
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                Posted: September 24, 2011, 12:59 am - IP Logged

                Last night I stopped at a Shell station in Franklin and the clerk was telling me this Columbia guy came in and shared his story. She said hecwad obviously shaken up and upset.

                Sounds to me like it was his own friend that took the ticket (not the friends friend) because a phonenumber was given with the ticket when mailed. So I guess he was upset he has lost a friend.

                Im with u Ridge: how do u let someone "hold" a ticket worth 50 K and not take it right back when they're done? Just doesn't seem to add up.

                Anywho, glad this poor sap got his dough in the end...I wonder if he will use it to move out of the dump that is Columbia, TN?

                  sully16's avatar - sharan
                  Listens to the wind

                  United States
                  Member #81740
                  October 28, 2009
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                  Posted: September 24, 2011, 7:31 am - IP Logged

                  Glad he got his ticket back, I think we'll hear more on this.

                  There's only one US Flag

                    LottoGuyBC's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                    British Columbia
                    Canada
                    Member #116105
                    September 4, 2011
                    3373 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: September 24, 2011, 8:58 am - IP Logged

                    Yep, he coulda rernt the ticket but this here being Tennessee and all, they ain't no tellin, he mighta knowed that that ol' boy lived by the feud and he mighta liked to got his head blowed clean off too.

                    I Agree!

                    guess we can foget about the tar and the feathers

                    & go str8 to the KILL Chair

                    "You have to be in it to win it!"

                      rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                      -Ridge Runner- Oracle of the Appalachians
                      Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                      United States
                      Member #73904
                      April 28, 2009
                      14743 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: September 24, 2011, 9:18 am - IP Logged

                      I Agree!

                      guess we can foget about the tar and the feathers

                      & go str8 to the KILL Chair

                      Dadgum straight! Thumbs Up


                                                                   
                                           
                                                               

                       

                       

                       

                       

                                                                                                                         

                      "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                                  --Edmund Burke

                       

                       

                        rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                        -Ridge Runner- Oracle of the Appalachians
                        Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                        United States
                        Member #73904
                        April 28, 2009
                        14743 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: September 24, 2011, 9:22 am - IP Logged

                        Last night I stopped at a Shell station in Franklin and the clerk was telling me this Columbia guy came in and shared his story. She said hecwad obviously shaken up and upset.

                        Sounds to me like it was his own friend that took the ticket (not the friends friend) because a phonenumber was given with the ticket when mailed. So I guess he was upset he has lost a friend.

                        Im with u Ridge: how do u let someone "hold" a ticket worth 50 K and not take it right back when they're done? Just doesn't seem to add up.

                        Anywho, glad this poor sap got his dough in the end...I wonder if he will use it to move out of the dump that is Columbia, TN?

                        He'd a had a hell of a time gettin turned aloose if he was ridin with me and "lost" that ticket, I'll tell ya what.


                                                                     
                                             
                                                                 

                         

                         

                         

                         

                                                                                                                           

                        "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                                    --Edmund Burke

                         

                         

                          cbr$'s avatar - maren
                          Cordova,Al.
                          United States
                          Member #104485
                          January 15, 2011
                          165 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: September 24, 2011, 1:20 pm - IP Logged

                          Disapprovegood , Mr holder finally get to enjoy his win. it really pays to sign the back of these tickets. But with a friend and neighbor's  like these who needs enemies. good grief!!

                            dpoly1's avatar - driver
                            PA
                            United States
                            Member #66141
                            October 16, 2008
                            1422 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: September 24, 2011, 2:34 pm - IP Logged

                            Pretty sure this would have gone the other way for me.

                            No one touches my Mega Ball or Powermillions tickets but me! Crazy 

                             

                            Still just a Republican, because they picked the wrong numbers last nite!

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