Mary Elliott, of Buckingham County, beat odds of one to 749,398 and then added a few odds of her own.
Elliott realized she won the top prize in the February 24 drawing of the Virginia Lottery game “Cash 5 with EZ Match” with a ticket she bought at the Food Lion grocery store in Dillwyn. Her numbers, 6-13-18-21-25, were selected by important birthdays.
She was in the middle of jubilation when she realized she had just thrown away the $110,000 winning ticket.
Elliott immediate dug through the dross, dregs and detritus of daily life and beat the odds again, finding the certificate a bit worse for wear and rushing it down to the store for redemption.
Then, she discovered the ticket couldn’t be confirmed as the winner. It seems its trip through the trash left coffee stains all over the ducat and made the barcode unreadable when she had it scanned to confirm her win.
Unwilling to let a cool 100-grand out of her grasp, Elliott took the soiled ducat to the Virginia Lottery’s Prize Zone West in Henrico. There she again beat the odds when Lottery officials declared it valid and her the winner.
“When I saw I’d won, I couldn’t stop shaking to save my life!” she said.
Authorized by Virginia voters in 1987, the Virginia Lottery generates more than $2 million per day that are used by the state legislature to fund Virginia’s public schools. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, lottery customers helped generate more than $765 million in funds.