What luck! Kansas man didn't know he lost a $1M lottery ticket until it was returned

Someone bought a $1 million Powerball ticket in south-central Kansas.
Someone bought a $1 million Powerball ticket in south-central Kansas. Kansas Lottery

Luck was on the side of a Kansas lottery winner recently, and buying the ticket was only half the story.

A Lincoln County, Kan., man won $1 million in the Mega Millions lottery. But before claiming his prize, he unknowingly lost the ticket in a Salina gas station.

Fortunately, store clerks found the ticket, checked the numbers and saw it matched all five numbers but not the Megaball, Kansas lottery officials said in a news release.

The clerks called the gas station owner for help, and hours after it was lost, the owner's son returned the winning ticket to the man.

The winner, who chose to remain anonymous, had bought the ticket at Mity Mart in Lincoln, Kan., more than 40 miles away. He told lottery officials he lost the ticket after stopping to get gas at a Salina gas station.

He said his brother went in to check his tickets and apparently dropped the unsigned Mega Millions ticket. The two then returned home to watch March Madness basketball.

"We had already been home for about an hour, and then went out and ran another errand. As we passed the store, the owner's son pulled out behind us and flagged us down. He explained what happened and handed me the ticket, and I just couldn't believe it!" the man said in a statement.

A lottery spokesman told the Salina Journal that the winner did not want the store to be identified, in case that would also reveal his identity. So it is unclear how the gas station owner's son knew who the winner was.

The Kansas Lottery said the ticket was brought into its Topeka office on Monday, when the man claimed his prize.

The Mity Mart store where he bought the ticket is eligible to receive a $1,000 bonus for selling it, the lottery said.

There are two major lotteries in the U.S. with jackpots around $300 million each. Watch for some ideas on how you could spend that kind of cash if you were to win.