Luck struck twice in the last month for Topeka man Kevin Hayek. Maybe he should consider playing the lottery?
Oh wait, he already did that, and that’s where his luck almost ran out.
On Oct. 17 he bought two Kansas Lottery tickets at a local convenience store. He plays regularly but isn’t always good about checking his tickets, according to KSNT in Topeka.
On a whim last week, while he was buying his morning coffee, he asked the store clerk to check the tickets he bought in October.
“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,” Hayek told Kansas Lottery officials.
“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.”
When he got to work he was showing a co-worker the long form he had to fill out to claim his prize.
His co-worker asked whether he had the ticket.
Oh yeah, the ticket.
Hayek didn’t have it because the clerk didn’t hand it back to him. He got back in his truck and headed straightaway back to the store — a winning decision on his part.
Turns out the clerk had thrown away both the winning and non-winning tickets. They were still in the trash inside the store; they hadn’t reached the Dumpster yet.
He was even luckier when he discovered he had matched four of the first five Powerball numbers and the Powerball — worth $50,000.
“I’ve never won more than $2 or $4 before,” he told lottery officials. “I didn’t believe I had won at first, but it’s finally starting to sink in.”
He plans to pay off some loans, give his motorcycle a “facelift,” take care of some things on his wife’s to-do list and put the rest in the bank.
Hayek works for the Topeka School District, where he’s done maintenance, plumbing and heating work for 36 years.
He went home early the day he found out he won.