Topeka man salvages $50,000 winning lottery ticket from trash

Photo Courtesy: Kansas Lottery

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A Topeka man is now $50,000 richer but was close to seeing it all be thrown away.

Kevin Hayek plays Powerball every week but doesn’t check his tickets that often. According to the Kansas Lottery, last Wednesday, he was getting his morning coffee at a local convenience store when the urge to check an almost month old ticket struck him.

“The first ticket the store clerk scanned wasn’t a winner, but when she scanned the next ticket, the machine just went crazy. Neither one of us had ever seen anything like it” said Hayek. “It printed out this long claim form, and the clerk gave it to me and I put it in my pocket and went to my job site.”

It wasn’t until he got to work that Hayek started reading the claim form with a co-worker, who noticed that Hayek was missing a very important document: the winning ticket!

“When I realized I didn’t have the ticket, I hopped back into the truck and went back to the store. The clerk had accidentally thrown it away with the non-winning ticket” Hayek said.

Luckily, the ticket was still right there in the store. Hayek finally got a chance to check his numbers when he returned to work, and that’s when he discovered he had matched four of the first five Powerball numbers and the Powerball, which was a $50,000 winner.

Hayek said he plans to pay off some loans and give his motorcycle a “facelift.” He’s been with the Topeka School District in maintenance, plumbing, and heating work for 36 years.

“I’ve never won more than $2 or $4 before. I didn’t believe I had won at first, but it’s finally starting to sink in.”

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