No one was more excited than Nick Slatten when he discovered he'd hit it big last week in the Tennessee lottery—and no one was more frantic than Nick Slatten when he subsequently lost the winning ticket. Slatten, who lives in Sparta, had picked up a Tennessee Cash ticket on March 10 after clocking out of his job in Smithville. The next morning, he found out he had the winning numbers, making him $1,178,746 richer. "I was stunned. I couldn't believe it," he says, per a Tennessee Lottery release. He shared the good news with his fiancee, Michelle, then headed out to take care of some errands, including taking his brother to O'Reilly Auto Parts to make a purchase. About an hour later, Slatten made a horrifying discovery: He couldn't find his lottery ticket.
The Tennessee Lottery notes that unless the original bearer of a winning ticket signs it, anyone can claim the ticket as their own if they find it, which sent Slatten into a panic. He headed back to all the places he'd been previously, including the auto parts store—which is where he stumbled on the ticket in the parking lot, lying on the ground next to a car. "It's a million-dollar ticket, and someone stepped right over it," he says. WBIR notes Slatten was especially lucky, as it had been a "pretty windy day" last Thursday. Slatten's plans for the windfall after his close call: to invest, buy a house and new cars, and live life with "not a whole lot of worries." (Read more lottery winner stories.)