“I had $1 million in my hand. I wanted to do something good," Abhi Shah, whose family owns the store, said

By Rachel DeSantis
May 24, 2021 10:47 AM
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Lea-Rose-Fiega
Lea Rose Fiega
| Credit: Massachusetts Lottery

One Massachusetts woman threw away her shot at $1 million  — but in a twist of fate, got a second chance at the fortune.

Lea Rose Fiega of Springfield won $1 million in the Massachusetts State Lottery's "Diamond Millions" instant game on March 30, a pre-tax cash prize she scored from a $30 ticket bought at Lucky Stop in Southwick, according to the Massachusetts State Lottery.

It's thanks to the owners of Lucky Stop, though, that Fiega got that far — because days earlier, she tossed her ticket in the trash, the owners told told MassLive.

"She was scratching one day and gave the ticket back to my mom to throw out," Abhi Shah, whose family owns the shop, told the outlet.

The winning ticket sat in a pile for 10 days until Shah double-checked the discarded tickets, and quickly realized that one hadn't been fully scratched. Once he finished it off, he made quite the discovery.

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"I had $1 million in my hand," Shah told NBC/CW affiliate WWLP. "I wanted to do something good."

Added his father Maunish Shah: "We didn't sleep two nights. He called my grandparents in India, [and] they said, 'Give it back, we don't want that money.'"

Because Fiega is a regular at the store, the family knew that the winning ticket was hers, so Shah dropped by her place of work nearby to clue her in, according to MassLive.

Though she was concerned something was wrong, Shah reportedly calmed her nerves by telling her, "No, it's something good. It will change your life."

Maunish Shah told WWLP that as soon as Fiega came in, he gave her the $1 million ticket and she began to cry.

"I am sleeping peacefully," Abhi Shah told MassLive.

According to the state lottery, the Southwick Lucky Stop will receive a $10,000 bonus for selling the ticket.