Karma came calling when postal worker refused to give up on "Peaches" the kitten
By Kate Northrop
TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington man won $717,500 playing the Washington Lottery's Hit 5 draw game after he saved a trapped kitten.
Joseph Waldherr, of Tacoma, was rewarded with a $727,500 lottery win after the heartwarming moment he rescued a helpless kitten.
Last month, the postal worker got to his workplace as usual and heard a tiny meowing sound. He looked up, down, left and right but couldn't figure out where it was coming from.
The following day, on July 31, he returned to work only to hear the sound again. Mustering up "newfound determination," the Lottery said, he found the kitten and carefully pulled it out of the tight space it was stuck in. He safely tucked the kitten inside his sweatshirt pocket, and it dozed off in a warm and cozy slumber for the remainder of his shift.
Deciding that luck was on his side, and perhaps feeling uplifted after the heartwarming rescue, Waldherr stopped at Park Avenue Foods on South Park Avenue in Tacoma to buy a lottery ticket. Kitten and Hit 5 ticket in-hand, he went home to his wife.
A couple days passed before he remembered he had bought a Hit 5 ticket at the local convenience store, so he brought it out and scanned it with his wife.
The words "See Lottery Office" popped up on his phone screen, and it appeared every time the pair scanned the ticket. After the third time, Waldherr looked up the winning numbers online and discovered that it was a jackpot-winning ticket.
Their ticket split an advertised $1.435 million jackpot to win a $717,000 prize before taxes for the drawing on July 31, 2023.
Waldherr and his wife attributed their lucky break to the tiny kitten he rescued on the day he bought his winning ticket. They decided to keep her and named her "Peaches" after the color of her peach-colored cheeks.
After claiming their prize on Aug. 2, the couple took Waldherr's father, mother, brother, and sister-in-law out to dinner to celebrate – just in time for his father's birthday, too.
Waldherr said he plans on saving some of prize money and will use it to help out with his parents' home so they can enjoy a peaceful retirement. He and his wife also want to donate to several charities.
"My wife and I have everything we need," the winner told the Lottery. "We just want to help others."
Now, Peaches the kitten can enjoy a nice, comfortable life with her new family, who will be able to afford all the catnip and treats her tiny heart desires.
The winning numbers in the drawing on Mon. July 31, 2023 were 11, 13, 24, 34, and 41. The odds of winning the Hit 5 jackpot by matching all five winning numbers are 1 in 850,668. Tickets cost $1 each.
The Hit 5 jackpot currently stands at $180,000 for the next drawing on Thurs., Aug. 24 at 8:00 pm PST. The starting jackpot of $100,000 grows until someone wins, after which it is reset back to the starting amount. All winning numbers, prizes, and odds are published on Lottery Post's Washington Lottery Results page right after each drawing.