Mike Weirsky, the winner of a $273 million dollar jackpot, says he has a good Samaritan to thank for making the win possible.
Before he became a multi-millionaire, Weirsky, 54, was an unemployed, recent divorcee living alone in Alpha, New Jersey.
Everything changed when Weirsky won the $273 million dollar jackpot on March 1, a life-changing moment that he would have missed had it not been for the kindness of a stranger.
Weirsky said he purchased two tickets at a QuickChek store in Phillipsburg, Pennsylvania, but accidentally left them on the counter and left the store.
“It’s the typical cell phone deal, paying more attention to my cell phone,” Weirsky said in a media conference, according to ABC News. “I put the tickets down, put my money away and did something with my phone, and just walked away.”
Meanwhile, QuickChek cashier Phil Campolo found the tickets while he was cleaning and placed them in the register for safekeeping.
Before the drawing took place on March 1, Weirsky realized he left the tickets and went back to QuickChek to see if, perhaps, they were still there.
“I’m very thankful there was an honest person out there because I figured (the ticket) was gone,” Weirsky said.
Weirsky was able to verify details of the ticket purchase, so the cashier handed him the lotto tickets and he went on his way.
On Sunday night, two days after the drawing, Weirsky decided to check his tickets. The first one was not a winner, but the second ticket was a perfect match.
Weirsky knows that if Campolo had not saved his lottery tickets, he would not be swimming in millions.
“I’m looking for the guy that handed them in, I want to thank him,” Weirsky said before he knew the stranger’s identity. “I’m going to give him something, but I’m going to keep that private.”
In the days following the win, Weirsky was able to meet Campolo at the store and thank him in person.
Campolo said he was simply doing the right thing in saving the misplaced lottery tickets.
“My parents raised me to be a good person, honest, sincere,” Campolo told NBC News. “I was doing the right thing, and I would do it again.”
With a sincere handshake, Campolo told Weirsky he was “very happy” for him.
As for Weirsky, he plans to “sit back and enjoy” the money and has hired a lawyer to help manage the details.
“I couldn’t believe I was the winner of more than $2 after playing after all these years,” he said.
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