Lotto Winner Finds Ticket While Raking Leaves After Hurricane Sandy

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Marvin Rosales Martinez's year just got a lot better.Martinez recently told the New York Post how he became a lottery winner by accident.Martinez,a landscaper in Long Island,was picking up some leaves after Hurricane Sandy when he found a million-dollar lottery ticket.He told the Post that while picking up and blowing leaves with a co-worker,he noticed the ticket in-between the wet leaves.On that day in November 2012,he decided to examine the ticket.Martinez then noticed that all three numbers on the ticket were winners.The ticket was for a "Win $1,000 a Week for Life" prize.

Martinez lives with his mother,so he rushed home to tell her about the ticket.The ticket was so damaged from all the water that it was hard to read.His mother didn't believe him about it, but he let it dry off, and then he called the lottery office.Their power was still out from Hurricane Sandy.Once they reopened,Martinez was asked a lot of questions.They concluded the conversation by saying they'd have to further investigate the ticket.This took so long that Martinez forgot about it.

The Post talked to a spokesman from the New York State Gaming Commission.The spokesman said, “in instances such as these, it’s standard practice for the Lottery to require a one-year waiting period before awarding the prize in case anyone else comes forward."

A year later no one claimed the prize.So Martinez received a call from the New York lottery office to set up a meeting about his win.During Friday's lottery press conference,his win was officially announced.Last month--before he knew the money was his--he got married.His wife, Miriam Benitez,a 24-year old Subway sandwich worker,learned of his win on Friday along with the general public.She couldn't believe he won.Martinez chose to take a lump-sum payment of $779,106,which after taxes equals $515,612.

Despite his win,Martinez vows to not change too much.He plans to send money back to his native country of El Salvador(he moved to America from there six years ago).He also plans to buy a home,possibly switch jobs,help his mom repair her home from the Hurricane Sandy devastation and, of course, take a honeymoon with his new wife.

Martinez's win proves  that anyone can get lucky at any moment.

Image via, ThinkStock

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