Jimmie Smith of East Orange, New Jersey, almost missed out on becoming a multi-millionaire recently, but discovered a winning $24 million lottery ticket, hidden away in the pocket of a shirt in his closet. The 68-year-old bought the ticket back in May 2016, but only found it was a winner two days prior to the expiry date. He credits a television segment by the New York Lottery for prompting him to search through his stash of lottery tickets.

Lucky winner takes his time checking his numbers

Most of us prefer to keep up to date with the lottery tickets we buy, but apparently Smith takes his time to check the lucky numbers.

He had a stash of lottery tickets tucked into the pocket of that old favorite shirt of his, including the $24 million winner, which was drawn on May 25, 2016. Smith is a retired security officer and father of two and grandfather to 12 children and is now comfortably rich.

New York Lottery searching for missing winner

The New York Lottery announced the news on their website recently, saying Smith had credited his luck to a news segment where the Lottery was trying to track down a missing winner. Smith said he had ended up with a stack of lottery tickets, including the lucky one. As he checked through all the tickets and spotted the lucky number in question, he said he just stood there for a moment, doubting what he was seeing.

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He said he had to stick his head out the window to breathe in some fresh air, as he really doubted his luck. However, the ticket, with the lucky numbers 05-12-13-22-25-35, was definitely there in his hands.

It is certainly lucky that the New York Lottery was publicizing the missing winner of the $24 million prize, otherwise Smith might never have known of his luck. According to Smith, he’s been regularly buying lottery tickets since the 1960s, but has never been in a hurry to find out if he has won. He said he always tells himself he’ll check the tickets when he has the time. Now just at a moment when the lucky ticket was about to expire in two days, he made his claim.

Set for life with a $24 million lottery win

As reported by People, the lucky lottery winner will get his massive $24,100,000 win in several payments over the next 26 years, making him comfortable pretty much for the rest of his life. Smith did tell the New York Lottery that once all the excitement has settled down, he is planning to have a discussion with the whole family about what to do with all that lovely money.