Fortunate discovery comes soon after a company-wide layoff
By Kate Northrop
It's been an emotional rollercoaster for an Iowan lottery player who drove around with a winning Powerball ticket worth $50,000 in his car for almost a full year.
For Casey Langan, 49, this holiday season has been filled with ups and downs after having discovered that he was in possession of a winning Powerball lottery ticket after having just been laid off from his job.
He was let go from his company as part of a larger layoff, but that unfortunate event led him right to a pleasant surprise. While cleaning out his work vehicle, he found a Powerball ticket sitting in the center console that he had completely forgotten about.
He checked its numbers online and was in utter shock. Four out of five numbers matched the white balls drawn in the Jan. 18 Powerball drawing, almost a full year ago. Had he matched just one more number, he would have walked away with that night's jackpot worth a staggering $343 million. The numbers drawn that night were 20, 24, 38, 56, and 68 with Powerball 18 and Power Play number 2.
Just to be sure the ticket was indeed a winner, he took it to a local convenience store to get it checked at a lottery terminal.
"Woohoo! You're a winner!" the terminal chimed when he scanned it.
Langan related the astonishing experience to Lottery officials when he claimed his prize at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive on Wednesday.
"It couldn't be better timing: Christmas, just getting let go from the job," Langan said in a press release. "It was perfect timing."
He does recall buying the ticket as a Quick Pick at the Kwik Star convenience store on West Ninth Street in Waterloo near where he and wife used to live. Now, the couple lives in West Des Moines.
"It's been sitting in that work car ever since," he confessed.
Langan had just five weeks left to claim the winnings before it would have expired. Winning Powerball tickets in Iowa must be claimed within 365 days from the date of the drawing.
He credits rediscovering the winning ticket to losing his job.
"I've been driving around for a year with $50,000 in the car, really," he told the Iowa Lottery. "If I didn't get laid off, I don't think I probably would've grabbed it. Things happen for a reason."
The layoffs at Langan's former company were certainly ill-timed, having just occurred around Christmas and right in the middle of a pandemic. Despite that, the newfound winnings come as a silver lining that Langan says will help contribute to a down payment on a home in the Des Moines area.
"We've been walking around like, 'Gosh, it'd be great to be able to start looking at some houses," he said. "Now, with a down payment, we can start looking at them and have it be really realistic. That part's really exciting."
Langan is hoping that the luck from coming across his lucky ticket will help him in his job search and urged other players to check their tickets as soon as possible.
"Check every single one of those!" he advised players everywhere.