Welcome Guest
Log In | Register )
You last visited December 6, 2016, 9:00 am
All times shown are
Eastern Time (GMT-5:00)

Discarded lottery ticket offers lesson of faith, optimism

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Discarded lottery ticket offers lesson of faith, optimism

It's last Wednesday, and Sharon Parker, a lottery regular from Swissvale, Pennsylvania, wins $16 in the Powerball.

It's not exactly enough to retire on, so Sharon does what lottery players do: She plows the $16 back into Thursday's Big Four at a convenience store downtown Pittsburgh near Kaufmann's.

That night, when she calls her mother for the numbers, it turns out to be another loss for Sharon, so she tears the tickets in half and drops them in a trash can at Fifth and Smithfield.

Back home in Swissvale, she finds out from the late TV news that mom had the numbers jumbled. The correct version shows that Sharon, who is 35 and is taking community college courses, has won $200. That's not retirement either, but it's enough to make her feel bad and leap into action. So next morning, at the crack of pre-dawn — 5:40 to be precise — Sharon is at Fifth and Smithfield with gloves on, flashlight in hand.

She remembers that the can she threw the ripped-up tickets in had apparently just been emptied, so she figures she has a shot. A Department of Public Works crew has already been through and bagged the trash for pickup.

Sharon starts to tear into the bags, but finds there are more people than she thought Downtown at 5:40 a.m. This stops her: Must work through official channels.

She calls DPW and tells them she's lost "an important piece of paper." The answer she gets is surprising: They'll send someone in 10 minutes. That someone turns out to be Matt Mazza. Sharon tells Matt exactly what the "important piece of paper" is. He does not roll his eyes. Far from it. He's a man on a mission.

Sharon is not sure which of four trash cans at the busy intersection might contain her prize. The first bag yields a bunch of slimy lottery tickets, but not Sharon's.

Second bag, nothing. Sharon is starting to lose heart. Hey, $200 is not the end of the world.

Third bag, nothing. She's getting angry and frustrated, ready to give up. "I'm one of little faith," Sharon would say later. "I'm real pessimistic."

Matt is not. No, we're not stopping, he tells Sharon.

Now, the fourth and final bag: The very first thing Matt pulls out is a lottery ticket in perfect shape. It is Sharon's ticket, not ripped in half as she "clearly" remembered but a ticket crying out for redemption. Yelling and weeping, she hugs Matt, once, twice, three times, and goes right into the store to cash in it.

But for Sharon Parker, this surprising little episode isn't all about money. She sends Matt a card and a reward.

"I needed the money, of course," she told The Morning File, "but it was more like a story of Matt showing me how to have faith and to be optimistic."

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

We'd love to see your comments here!  Register for a FREE membership — it takes just a few moments — and you'll be able to post comments here and on any of our forums. If you're already a member, you can Log In to post a comment.

12 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by Chewie.
Page 1 of 1
Avatar
nassau bahamas
United States
Member #5286
June 27, 2004
77 Posts
Offline
Posted: September 20, 2005, 11:19 am - IP Logged

you go girl******faith--just a little can move mountains--good luck


    United States
    Member #3676
    February 10, 2004
    425 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: September 20, 2005, 11:31 am - IP Logged

    For the love of god, check the tickets yourself!!! 

      whodeani's avatar - lightening

      United States
      Member #2484
      October 9, 2003
      212 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: September 20, 2005, 11:39 am - IP Logged

      For the love of god, check the tickets yourself!!! 

      AMEN!

        RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
        mid-Ohio
        United States
        Member #9
        March 24, 2001
        19825 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: September 20, 2005, 12:46 pm - IP Logged

        The moral of this story is don't play more than you're willing to lose and don't discard your losing tickets until after the playing year is over, they may be handy for claiming a lost on your taxes if you win something  and you will have a chance to review them if you need to.

         * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
           
                     Evil Looking       

          starchild_45's avatar - spherewall2
          kent, washington
          United States
          Member #3509
          January 26, 2004
          465 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: September 20, 2005, 3:45 pm - IP Logged

          The moral of this story is don't play more than you're willing to lose and don't discard your losing tickets until after the playing year is over, they may be handy for claiming a lost on your taxes if you win something  and you will have a chance to review them if you need to.

          i do just that and did that one year when i had a big win. i am glad she got her money. go girl.

            onenumber's avatar - swordgirl
            Chicago, IL
            United States
            Member #8354
            November 2, 2004
            1580 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: September 20, 2005, 3:53 pm - IP Logged

            Don't call your mother for the winning numbers, apparently she isn't always right!!

              Avatar
              Sparta, NJ
              United States
              Member #18331
              July 9, 2005
              1977 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: September 21, 2005, 9:46 am - IP Logged

              There is always some story about some one who threw the winning ticket in the trash - then had to go back and dig it out. Buy 'em book, and buy 'em books, more and more of them continue to chew on the covers.

              Cheers

              |||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

              I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice

                BabyJC's avatar - Lottery-031.jpg

                United States
                Member #3271
                January 7, 2004
                148 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: September 21, 2005, 11:34 am - IP Logged

                I can't imagine all that trouble was over $200 -- I thought it was going to be something like $20,000!

                  Avatar
                  Wisconsin
                  United States
                  Member #1610
                  June 3, 2003
                  668 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: September 21, 2005, 12:08 pm - IP Logged

                  Coffee I won $16 on Pbl with Powerplay last Wed just like Sharon. Maybe it'll be a lucky 16. I hope!

                  ... the lottery never fails to surprise!
                    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                    Chief Bottle Washer
                    New Jersey
                    United States
                    Member #1
                    May 31, 2000
                    23262 Posts
                    Online
                    Posted: September 21, 2005, 12:11 pm - IP Logged

                    I can't imagine all that trouble was over $200 -- I thought it was going to be something like $20,000!

                    For someone living paycheck-to-paycheck, $200 can mean the difference between making a car payment or not.  I definitely understand where the person is coming from.

                     

                    Check the State Lottery Report Card
                    What grade did your lottery earn?

                     

                    Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                    Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                      emilyg's avatar - cat anm.gif

                      United States
                      Member #14
                      November 9, 2001
                      31347 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: September 21, 2005, 12:47 pm - IP Logged

                      I can't imagine all that trouble was over $200 -- I thought it was going to be something like $20,000!

                      For someone living paycheck-to-paycheck, $200 can mean the difference between making a car payment or not.  I definitely understand where the person is coming from.

                      $200 is a good amount of money.

                      love to nibble those micey feet.

                       

                                                   

                        Avatar
                        Sparta, NJ
                        United States
                        Member #18331
                        July 9, 2005
                        1977 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: September 22, 2005, 2:37 pm - IP Logged

                        I can't imagine all that trouble was over $200 -- I thought it was going to be something like $20,000!

                        For someone living paycheck-to-paycheck, $200 can mean the difference between making a car payment or not.  I definitely understand where the person is coming from.

                        $200 is a good amount of money.

                        Almost two weeks worth of gas, so I can go back and forth to work. Might not be enough next week.

                        Cheers

                        |||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

                        I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice