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The Accidental Millionaires: 7 Stories Of People Who Stumbled Into Their Lottery Wins

02/16/2015 12:00 EST | Updated 02/19/2015 10:59 EST
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A pipe dream is only impossible until it becomes reality. What would you do if you unexpectedly won the lottery? Maybe you'd get a fabulous new hairdo, or maybe buy a fleet of cars for your family. Would you take a trip to Hawaii, or embark on the global sightseeing tour you never had the time or money to do? You never know, do you? Neither did these seven winners, who went out to buy groceries or ice cream and found themselves significantly wealthier by the time they got back home. Meet seven amazing cases of completely unsuspecting lottery players who hit it big!

The Accidental Millionaires: 7 Stories Of People Who Stumbled Into Their Lottery Wins

The waiting game [$30 million, 2013]

Nick Takticos, a worker at a Toyota Plant in Cambridge, was a big believer in face-to-face conversation. So when he bought a $30-million winning ticket at the end of August, he didn’t actually claim it until three weeks later! He spent the time approaching his family and loved ones and telling them the good news in person, claiming that he didn’t want them to find out through a news report. Now that’s a young man with a plan if we ever saw one.

Additional unexpected revenue [$32.6 million, 2014]

When a group of Canadian Revenue Agency workers (26 in all!) organized by group play captain Philippe Bussière won their $32.6-million office lottery pool, it came as a group surprise to all of them. The individual payout per participant came to around $1.6-million apiece. The group basked in their newfound financial independence and started planning some amazing vacations.

The family that plays together [$50 million, 2013]

Lynda Powell is no stranger to playing the lottery; she is a veteran of 25 years! But when her husband John asked her to pick up a ticket for him on her grocery run, it didn't seem like an outrageous request as the family of six regularly played the lottery together. His little request went a long way, as the ticket she purchased that day was a winner! The Peterborough family remain firm that they prefer the little things in life, and are planning to indulge in small trips and splurges along with providing some financial aid to the rest of their extended family!

Quick picking winnings [$48 million, 2014]

Tina Ferrone and Liam McGee had never bought a lottery ticket before, but the event planner and construction worker both knew they'd always wanted to open up a yoga studio of their own. Ferrone's random purchase of two quick-pick tickets at a shopping centre dropped a kingly sum of $48 million on the Kanata couple, who have three children. It’s safe to say that they made the right purchase at the mall that day, especially because the winning ticket was the first lottery ticket she ever bought! Next up: It’s time to build that yoga studio!

Thrill of the hunt [$15 million, 2013]

When Delmer Hartwig won the $15-million Lotto Max jackpot, instead of immediately claiming the money, he took some time to go elk hunting. In his words, the elk hunt “only comes once a year,” and so he put a giant pile of money on the backburner for a few days to chase his passion. After claiming the money, Hartwig went right back to nature, taking more than a few trips to a bush camp with his friends. Some people change their lifestyles when they come into money, and others keep doing what they love, and this is a clear case of the latter.

The perfect Mother’s Day gift [$50 million, 2014]

When she gathered her family together for a Mother’s Day dinner, Sophie Rizavas had a bombshell waiting for them all; that she had just won a $50-million Lotto Max draw (plus $5 for matching the first two numbers of her Encore play). To add some further amazing coincidence to that fact, Rizavas and her husband immigrated to Canada on May 10th, 1970 — and they won the lottery on May 10th, 44 years later. From cleaning lady to multimillionaire — how’s that for a True Canadian story?

Good luck and good graces [$50 million, 2014]

Imagine winning a $50-million lottery ticket. Now, imagine losing it. For months. That’s the scenario that Hakeem Nosiru and his wife, Abiola, faced when their newly-won ticket went missing one day. Hakeem had taken steps to prevent this, going so far as to duct tape the ticket on the inside of his wife’s purse. Still, that didn’t stop the ticket from vanishing, prompting a hectic search of the couple’s home, to no avail. Months later, one of their friends from church returned the ticket to them (Hakeem had made sure to write their address on the back of the ticket), and they made quick work to submit it ASAP. Now that’s a story of lost and found!