That's some really good karma—Abhi Shah, a convenience store owner in Southwick, Massachusetts, gave back a lotto ticket worth $1 million to the person who had thrown it away.
During one of her shifts at the Lucky Stop store, she went through the pile of discarded scratch-offs and discovered that one of them was actually a winning ticket. She initially thought about keeping the ticket for herself and using the money to buy a Tesla or even another store, but she ultimately felt that giving the ticket back was the right thing to do.
"We had mixed emotions. We didn't sleep for two nights, but I don't know what happened," Shah explained to The Washington Post. "My inner soul told me, 'That's not right. You know who that person is. You should give that ticket back to them.' And that's exactly what I did."
It turned out that the owner of the ticket was actually a regular customer of her family's store since they bought it five years ago. Lea Rose Fiega, an insurance worker whose office is located near the store, makes frequent visits during her lunch break to buy scratch-offs. Usually, when the tickets don't win, she hands them back to the Shahs, who then leave them in a discard pile.
In March of this year, Fiega purchased a scratch-off for $30, then gave it back to Shah's mother who was working in the store at the time. She thought it was just another valueless ticket...until ten days later, the Shahs realized the ticket wasn't entirely scratched off.
"I was in a hurry, on lunch break, and just scratched it real quick, and looked at it, and it didn’t look like a winner, so I handed it over to them to throw away,” Fiega told the Associated Press.
The Shahs discussed their options before deciding to give the ticket back to Fiega. They even called their relatives in India for advice, and they all told them that they should return it to her. In their situation, perhaps a clear conscience is worth more than any amount of money.
They planned to give the ticket back to Fiega the next time she came by the store, but when she never showed up, Shah drove to her office. Fiega was surprised to see her there and she had no idea what was going on. Then Shah told her: "It's something that's going to change your life," and the rest is history.
Fiega was so thankful for the Shahs' honesty that she gifted them some of the winnings which she initially planned to save for her retirement. The Shahs also received $10,000 from the Massachusetts Lottery for selling the ticket.
"It was a really great moment. Seeing her happy, I got so happy. I knew I did the right thing. I shouldn’t keep anybody’s money. Money is not everything in life."