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Man finds $24 million lottery ticket in an old shirt – just two days before it expires

In the quiet corners of our homes, we all have that spot where letters and receipts gather, waiting for the right moment of attention. For 68-year-old Jimmie Smith, this spot happened to be an old shirt hanging in his closet, harboring a trove of unchecked lottery tickets.

“I always told myself, ‘I’ll check them when I have the time,'” shared the New Jersey man, his words echoing a familiar sentiment.

And fortuitously, he did. Timing, as they say, is everything. Just two days shy of losing the chance of a lifetime, Jimmie stumbled upon a winning lottery ticket worth a staggering $24.1 million, concealed in the pockets of that forgotten shirt.

The fateful ticket was purchased over a year ago for the New York Lotto, with the winning numbers etched on it: 05 – 12 – 13 – 22 – 25 – 35. The New York Gaming Commission knew the prize-winning ticket originated from a bodega in New York City, but the identity of the fortunate soul remained a mystery.

With the expiration date looming, the New York Lottery initiated a quest, urging players to scour their pockets, glove boxes, and every nook and cranny. “If you have this winning ticket, we look forward to meeting you,” encouraged Gweneth Dean, director of the Commission’s Division of the Lottery.

Enter Jimmie Smith, a retired security officer, whose curiosity was piqued by a news story on the hunt for the elusive winner. Prompted by the quest, he ventured to his closet, where the old shirt hung in obscurity.

Upon the moment of truth, as the numbers aligned, he stood there in silent disbelief. “Do I see what I think I see?” he pondered, breathing in the reality that had eluded him for so long. “I had to stick my head out the window and breathe in some fresh air; I was in serious doubt. I really had to convince myself this was real.”

May 23, 2017 – the day Jimmie Smith’s life transformed. Had it been two days later, he would have forfeited the $24.1 million jackpot. The New York Lottery officially revealed Smith’s name after a thorough review, bringing closure to the captivating mystery.

“We are thrilled that this lucky winner was able to locate this life-changing ticket,” expressed Gweneth Dean, capturing the collective sentiment of astonishment.

Choosing to receive his windfall over 26 years, Smith, a father of two and grandfather of 12, envisions an “all-family discussion” in the near future, once the whirlwind of this incredible discovery settles down. In the folds of life’s forgotten corners, a treasure awaited, and Jimmie Smith emerged as its unsuspecting guardian.

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Last modified: January 29, 2024

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