A first-time lottery player in New Jersey said a mistake when checking her tickets nearly landed her $387,391 jackpot winner in the trash.
Frances Rhodes of Monmouth Beach told New Jersey Lottery officials she had played scratch-off lottery tickets before, but one day when she received a $20 prize she decided to buy some Jersey Cash 5 tickets — her first time entering a lottery drawing.
Frances purchased her tickets on Friday, Oct. 5th and left them in the car's cup holder. On that following Sunday, her husband James went out to the car to retrieve the tickets while his wife was still sleeping to make sure she did not forget about them. After waking up and before getting out of bed, Frances decided to check the tickets using her iPad to see if she had won anything.
At first, Frances thought she only had a few losing tickets and was going to throw them away, but she decided to check them a second time. This is when she realized she had been checking them against the wrong draw date and, in fact, one of the tickets she was about to throw away was a $387,000 jackpot winner.
Frances could not believe she had actually won, so she went downstairs to where her husband James was watching football and told him to look at the numbers on her iPad while she read him the numbers off of the ticket. She asked him, "Are those the numbers you see?" He said they were and Frances excitedly told him they had just won a lot of money. Because she often "goofs around" a lot with him, James didn't believe his wife. Frances told him the good news again, this time pointing to the jackpot numbers displayed on her iPad to show him what they had won.
Frances was still having a hard time accepting the fact that this ticket in her hands was a winner, so she called her sister and asked her to write down the numbers and check them on-line. Once her sister confirmed those were definitely the winning numbers and read the additional information on the Lottery website, she advised Frances to immediately sign the back of the ticket. However, Frances decided not to sign the ticket until she was at New Jersey Lottery headquarters, "...because you never know what could happen." She said her sister and husband would know where the safe place was that the ticket would be kept.
When asked if she will continue to play lottery, Frances said of course she would — as her husband chuckled. They plan on using the winnings to get things done around the house and saving the remainder for their grandchildren.
The retailer that sold the lucky ticket was Monmouth Beach Supermarket & Liquors, 73 Riverdale Ave., Monmouth Beach in Monmouth County.