Indian American family’s honesty wins all round praise.
Thanks to the honesty of the Indian American owners of a store in Massachusetts, a woman who accidentally tossed out a $1 million lottery ticket has eventually collected her winnings.
Owners of the Lucky Stop convenience store in Southwick returned the winning ticket to Lea Rose Fiega after their elders in India advised them, “we don’t want that money.”
“I was a millionaire for a night,” the owner’s son Abhi Shah, who discovered the winning ticket, joked as he recounted his brief Midas touch to WBZ TV.
Although he had thought of buying a Tesla car, he decided to return the ticket to Fiega, who had bought the $30 Diamond Millions scratch-off ticket from his mother Aruna Shah, in March.
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“Who does that? They’re great people. I am beyond blessed,” Fiega told Salem News.
Fiega said overcoming a near fatal bout with Covid-19 in January was like “winning the lottery,” so she feels doubly fortunate.
The owner Maunish Shah told WWLP TV that after the ticket was found, “we didn’t sleep two nights”. But they decided to consult his parents in India.
Abhi Shah told WBZ: “My grandmother said, ‘let’s not keep the ticket. It’s not right. Just give it back to them. If it’s in your luck, you’ll get it anyhow’.”
“One evening, I was going through the tickets from the trash and found out that she didn’t scratch the number,” Abhi Shah told WWLP-TV. “I scratched the number and it was $1 million underneath the ticket.”
Fiega is a regular customer, so the family knew immediately who had discarded it. Shah went to see Fiega at work.
“He came to my office and said, ‘my mom and dad would like to see you’. I said, ‘I’m working’, and he said, ‘no you have to come over’. So I went over there and that’s when they told me. I was in total disbelief. I cried, I hugged them,” Fiega told Salem News.
Maunish Shah said: “I handed her the $1 million ticket and she freaked out and cried like a baby. She sat down on the floor right here.”
Fiega had not scratched the number squares on her lottery ticket properly.
“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 said.
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Congratulatory messages and praise have flooded the Shah family.
A customer told WBZ: “They’re just purely good people. You can tell by just talking to them.”
WBZ reported that the family “is fielding congratulatory calls and interview requests from across the country”.
Abhi told the station that “If I had kept that million, I wouldn’t have been this famous. So I’m glad I gave it back.”
WBZ concluded: “He could have bought a lot of things with that money, but it would have cost him his soul.”
The store gets a $10,000 bonus from the state lottery commission for selling the winning ticket. Fiega said she gave the family an additional reward. She’s saving the rest for retirement.
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