Photo: New York Gaming Commission
If you’re like many Americans, you procrastinate. It’s not that some of the things on your “to-do” list are especially taxing, but just a matter of principle. Namely, “eh, I don’t feel like it right now.”
It was that very attitude that almost cost Jimmie Smith, 68-year-old grandfather of 12, a large chunk of money. Make that $24.1 million dollars, to be more precise. But when you’ve been playing the New York City and New Jersey Lotto virtually your whole life with nothing to show for it, you tend to lose track of what are surely dud tickets accumulating in your shirt pockets.
Man Wins $24 Million New York Lottery Two Days Before It Expires
Fortunately for Mr. Smith, he caught wind via the evening news that a winning ticket from May 25, 2016 was still out there and soon to expire.
— New York Lottery (@newyorklottery) May 19, 2017
“A lucky New Yorker has a $24 million Lotto payday just waiting — but the winner has to act fast as time is running out,” director of the New York Gaming Commission’s Division of the Lottery Gweneth Dean announced back in May.
Since it was two days before the deadline, the retired security officer checked the pocket of one of his favorite shirts where he kept previous tickets. Sure enough, the numbers 5, 12, 13, 22, 25, 35 stared him right in the face, and he was off to the New York Gaming Commission — roughly a mile from the Renu Corp Grocery & Tobacco store where he’d purchased the ticket a year prior — to collect his winnings. He’s a dramatic reenactment of how we assume things went:
“I had to stick my head out the window and breathe in some fresh air,” Smith said of his experience finding the big winner. “I was in serious doubt. I really had to convince myself this was real.”
Even though he found the ticket two days before the expiration, Smith opted not to turn it in until the last day, according to details released last Wednesday when the New York Gaming Commission announced the identity of the winner. Smith also took his payout in the sensible “smaller sums of money over the next 26 years” manner. He’s probably better off for doing so. If he procrastinated this long to check his tickets, what’s to say he wouldn’t do the same thing when it came to paying taxes?