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Store clerk's mistake helps N.Y. man win $10 million

Topic closed. 33 replies. Last post 3 years ago by TNPATL.

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raleigh nc
United States
Member #105653
February 4, 2011
247 Posts
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Posted: February 28, 2014, 12:18 pm - IP Logged

On Saturday, Jan. 18, 53-year-old Jerry Kajfasz went to the Depew One Stop on Broadway, his normal day-off haunt, where he bought some cigars and his favorite scratch-off New York Lottery tickets.

Nothing unusual there.

But the clerk mistakenly started to hand Kajfasz a $20 Win for Life Spectacular ticket. Kajfasz corrected the clerk, got the tickets he wanted and left the store.

That mistake set up a series of events that led Kajfasz, his wife, Anne, and their two children, Jackie and Frank, to win a guaranteed minimum of $10 million total, or $10,000 a week for life, from the New York Lottery.

The family of four, from Lancaster, was beaming Tuesday afternoon, as they held up an oversized $10 million ceremonial check.

On that lucky January day, Kajfasz walked out of the store and got in his truck.

"I kept winning on the scratch-off tickets," he recalled during a Tuesday afternoon news conference at the convenience store. "I won like seven in a row. I just got lucky, until I hit the big one."

With about $25 in hand and feeling lucky, Kajfasz figured what the heck. So he went back into the store, remembering that $20 Win for Life ticket, which he now calls "the one that almost got away."

He recalled telling the clerk, "Give me that ticket you almost gave me by accident."

Still in the store, Kajfasz scratched off the ticket, finding a 10 as one of the winning numbers on the top and a matching 10 among his numbers on the bottom. The payoff, though, came with the word "Life" printed just below his matching number.

"I just sat there and couldn't believe it," he said. "Shocked. I probably looked over the ticket half a dozen times."

The clerk validated the ticket, leaving Kajfasz a very rich man.

Call it the lucky — very lucky — $10 million mistake.

After having the ticket validated, Kajfasz called his wife with the news. Then he called his two children, in a more urgent tone than they usually hear from their normally laid-back father.

"He wouldn't tell me what happened," Frank Kajfasz said of his dad. "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."

The Kajfasz family had an option of how to collect its winnings. The parents are taking 86 percent, with each of the children getting 7 percent. So the parents will get 19 annual payments of around $450,000 before taxes, or almost $300,000 after taxes. But the ticket is in Frank's name, meaning that family members can keep collecting even after their father's lifetime.

Since striking it rich, Jerry Kajfasz already has retired from his printing job in Amherst.

Kajfasz plans to take care of his family, including keeping a promise to take his mother to visit family in her native Poland, lottery officials said.

Kajfasz becomes the 14th Erie County resident to win at least $10 million from the New York Lottery. The first 13 won their prizes between 1988 and 2005, according to lottery records.

But there hasn't been one in more than eight years.

"There's nothing systematic to suggest that kind of trend," said Carolyn Hapeman, a lottery spokeswoman. "It's just random luck."

The same could be said for Jerry Kajfasz.

"We've always had a joke that he had a horseshoe...," his daughter, Jackie, said, pausing as she realized her words were being recorded, "somewhere on his body."

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

Thanks to tony869 for the tip.

wooooooooooooohoooooooooooooooo!!!! excellent story and congrats Mr Kajfasz!!! Enjoy your blessing to you and your family!!HyperDanceParty

    Drenick1's avatar - villiarna
    USA
    United States
    Member #152799
    February 25, 2014
    1090 Posts
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    Posted: February 28, 2014, 1:34 pm - IP Logged

    He's telling a story that any lottery commission would love. Just. One. More. Ticket. Yea, that extra ticket will be the winner...just keep spending more.

    I Agree! The lottery commission loves these kind of stories. What they don't want to publicize is that for every "mistake" winner there are tens of thousands of them that don't win anything.

      mediabrat's avatar - 18z0typ
      upstate NY
      United States
      Member #108791
      March 31, 2011
      549 Posts
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      Posted: March 3, 2014, 6:57 pm - IP Logged

      Just reread the percentages cut, mediabrat, and most will "probably" come to my earlier written conclusion.

      I did.  Your assertion that Jackie "lost out big" is patently false.  She's getting the same amount as her brother, so she should have no reason to be upset with him.  As for her parents, if she begrudges them coming away with the lion's share of the money, that's her problem.

      There is no reason to believe that this was not a decision reached and agreed to by the entire family.  If they wanted to shut her out, they would have.

      I do find it odd, however, that they chose to publicize the exact breakdown of how the family would be sharing the winnings.

      Patriot

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        New York, NY
        United States
        Member #13514
        April 7, 2005
        235 Posts
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        Posted: March 5, 2014, 3:32 pm - IP Logged

        Well that's a nice mistake!!!!  Congratulations to the winner.