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$273M Mega Millions Winner Forgot Ticket at the Store

Luckily, a Good Samaritan turned Michael Weirsky's tickets in to store workers
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2019 8:23 AM CST
Mike Weirsky speaks during a news conference Thursday in Trenton, NJ.   (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

(Newser) – We all know what it's like to be distracted by our cellphones. But for Michael Weirsky, that distraction nearly cost him a $163 million. That's how much the New Jersey man is about to receive in one lump sum after one of his Mega Millions tickets hit the $273 million jackpot last Friday, a windfall that almost didn't happen when he left behind the tickets he'd purchased on Feb. 28 at a Phillipsburg QuickChek convenience store, the New York Daily News reports. "I put the tickets down, put my money away, and did something with my phone and just walked away," he said at a Thursday press conference. A Good Samaritan found the tickets and gave them to store workers; Weirsky returned to the store the next day and reclaimed them.

The 54-year-old says he found out he won on Sunday—and went right back to watching TV because "I didn't believe it." Weirsky, who recently got divorced, says he's long been unemployed because he followed his now-ex around as she moved from job to job. He says he plans on giving the person who turned in his tickets a reward, though he says "I'm going to keep that private." And he does owe that person a bit of gratitude: Lottery officials say if the man had signed the tickets he found, he could've legally claimed the jackpot himself, per WABC. As for Weirsky's ex-wife, identified by the New York Post as Eileen Murray, he heard from her after his big win. "She just called me today and said she's taking me back to court," he says, per CBS New York. Murray, who was paying Weirsky spousal support, tells the Post she's not looking for a handout. "I'm not going after anything. I have morals," she says. (Read more Mega Millions stories.)

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