Naturally, Earl Livingston of Blackwood, NJ, isn't thrilled he broke his hip while walking to the store Tuesday. But it was the fact that the 87-year-old's tumble and subsequent hospitalization kept him from buying a ticket for Tuesday's night's $1.5 billion Mega Millions drawing that really bothered him, the AP reports. When he confessed his disappointment to employees at Jefferson Stratford Hospital, where he was being treated, a physician assistant had a lightbulb moment. The staffer's offer, Livingston's niece, Bobbie Mickle, tells NBC10: "Why don't you go in with us?"
And so Livingston threw his lot into the hospital pool with 141 others—and they ended up winning a $1 million prize. "I thought he was confused, maybe from pain meds," Mickle says when her uncle told her he'd won. "And then the staff came into the room and they were saying congratulations. … I was like, 'Wow, he really did win.'" It's not clear exactly how much Livingston, who now needs a hip replacement, will clear after taxes—probably just a few thousand dollars after everyone else in the pool gets their share—but he seems pleased nonetheless. "I appreciate very much and God bless you and have a happy, happy long life," he says. (The South Carolina store that sold Tuesday's big ticket will receive about $30,000 for its troubles.)