Shah, whose parents own Lucky Stop convenience store in Southwick, Massachusetts, was sorting through lottery tickets thrown from the store when he found a partially scratched Diamond Millions ticket. It turned out to be a winning ticket of one million US dollars.
“I was dancing in the store. I was going crazy. I called my mother. I called my father. I thought to myself, ‘We found a million dollars,’ Shah said As it happens host Carol Off. “I thought the first thing I wanted to do was buy a Tesla, and then I would decide what to do with the rest of my money. “
But once the adrenaline wears off, reality sets in. Shah realized he couldn’t keep the ticket.
Grandma knows best
His family knew which customer bought the ticket and mistakenly threw it away. Lea Rose Fiega is a long-time Lucky Stop customer who regularly buys scratch tickets during her lunch breaks. He knew, deep in his heart, that he had to return the ticket to her.
Still, it’s not easy to let go of $ 1 million. So he discussed it with his parents and extended family in India.
“I spoke to my grandmother. She said, ‘Just give it back. You know, it’s not your money. If it’s in your luck, you’ll get it anyway. You don’t have to take someone else’s money. ‘ ” mentionned.
This sealed the deal for Shah.
“I also felt like I had to return it, but after my grandmother told me you had to return it, I was 100% sure to return the ticket to whoever it belonged to.” he said.
So he waited at the convenience store to tell Fiega the news that will change his life.
When she didn’t show up for her lunch break as usual, Shah went to her workplace and asked her to come back to the store with him.
She seemed nervous at first, he said, and asked if she was having any problems.
“I thought, ‘No, you’re not in trouble. It’s good. Don’t worry, ”he said. “’Stop working and come with me. It will change your life. ‘ “
When Fiega heard the news, Shah says she burst into tears.
“She panicked. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She couldn’t believe there were decent people out there, ”he said. “She hugged my dad for about five minutes. She was unable to move. She was shaking. “
I feel like it’s worth over a million dollars.– Abhi Shah
Fiega told The Associated Press on Monday that she scratched the ticket in a hurry during her lunch break and didn’t realize it was a winner.
She said she survived a near-fatal fight with COVID-19 in January, which already looked like “winning the lottery,” so she now feels doubly lucky.
She said she was extremely grateful to the Shah family and gave them part of her winnings, although neither party disclosed how much.
“They are great people. I am beyond blessing, ”she said. “I mean, who does that?” ”
Shah, meanwhile, is happy that he listened to his grandmother and did the right thing.
“I feel like it’s worth over a million dollars. You know, even if someone’s blessing touched my soul, it would be the greatest achievement of my life, ”he said.
“I was a millionaire for at least one night, so I’m happy with it. “
Written by Sheena Goodyear with files from The Associated Press. Interview with Abhi Shah produced by Katie Geleff.