This Woman Won $5 Million After Buying the Wrong Lottery Ticket

The moral of the story: When life gives you a ticket, take it.

Last week, New Jersey resident Oksana Zaharov, 46, was in a Manhattan convenience store when the cashier made a minor mistake that would change her life forever.

She asked for a $1 scratch-off ticket, but, instead, the clerk handed her a $10 Set For Life ticket for the New York Lottery.

"When the clerk handed me the wrong ticket I felt bad so I decided to just go ahead and buy it," Zaharov told the official NY Lottery website. "I actually used the ticket as a bookmark for a couple weeks before I decided to scratch it."

When she did scratch it, however, the mother of two learned that she was the lucky recipient of the Set For Life prize, which guarantees a minimum payout of $5 million.

She literally couldn't believe it.

"I never win anything," she said. "I was sure the ticket was fake. It wasn't until I brought it into the office that I knew it was for real."

As the name of the prize indicates, Zaharov is now indeed set for life. Her grand prize will be given to her in 19 annual payments $260,000 (net $172,068) and one additional payment of $60,000 (net $39,708) for the next 20 years. After that, she will continue to receive an annual net payment of $172,068 for the rest of her life.

Zaharov said that she would like to celebrate her good luck by taking her family on a trip to the Bahamas, but she's most excited that the winnings mean her kids will have a "loan-free college education."

One wonders what you can learn from Zaharov's incredible story. According to the lottery website, Zaharov is the "88th New York Lottery player to claim a prize totaling $1,000,000 or more this year," so they would likely say that the moral of the tale is that you should buy more lottery tickets.

But, really, Zaharov can credit her new prosperity to her "go with the flow" attitude. If she had thrown a fit about the scratch off ticket, she'd likely be in the same place now that she was before. So perhaps the moral is: when life gives you a ticket, even if it's not the one you wanted, just go with it. And for more feel-good news, read up on why Everyone Is Going Shirtless Like Kylo Ren on Instagram. 

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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