Ricardo Cerezo's wife was cleaning the kitchen when she told the Illinois man he'd better get the lottery tickets that had been piling up in a cookie jar for the past month checked—or she was going to throw them away. Good thing, because that prodded Cerezo to take the tickets in, where he found one was worth $4.85 million. Now the family—which had been facing foreclosure—will be able to pay off their home, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Most of the tickets he took from the jar to the 7-Eleven weren't winners, but one scored him $3—"I was excited. I get to pay for my Pepsi," he says—and then, "the last one said file a claim," meaning it was worth $600 or more. He went online and discovered all six numbers matched the Feb. 2 drawing. On Feb. 12, Cerezo recalls, he was at a foreclosure hearing: "So we were sitting on $4 million at that time in this jar," he says. Touching side note: Cerezo says he considers the windfall a gift from his youngest daughter Savannah, who bought the cookie jar for him a few months before a series of seizures killed her in August at age 14, NBC Chicago reports. (It's been quite a week for lotto winners: In Virginia, a man won his third six-figure amount. Meanwhile, tomorrow's Powerball now stands at $550 million, the AP reports.)