SALT LAKE CITY — Elation quickly turned to panic for a Tennessee man when he realized he had misplaced a lottery ticket worth more than $1 million. But his luck hadn't quite run out yet: he found the mega-valuable piece of paper on the ground in a parking lot just an hour later.
When Nick Slatten stopped at a convenience store after work back on March 10, he didn't realize he'd be setting into motion the wildest ride of his life. Slatten bought a drink and a Tennessee Cash lottery ticket, then headed home to relax, People reported.
The next morning, Slatten woke up and checked his ticket against the winning drawing. He was shocked when he realized he was holding roughly $1,178,746 in his hands.
"I was stunned," Slatten told the Tennessee Education Lottery. "I couldn't believe it."
Slatten scrambled to visit his fiancee at work, where he surprised her with the life-changing news. So where does a newly minted millionaire go from there? Errands, of course. According to the Tennessee Lottery press release, Slatten and his brother made a stop at O'Reilly's Auto Parts before heading to lunch. That's when he realized he was missing something — something extremely valuable.
"I couldn't find it anywhere," Slatten said.
That's right, remember that $1 million lottery ticket? Nowhere to be found.
Adding to the stress? Slatten hadn't signed the back of the ticket yet, which means anyone who happened upon it could essentially claim the money, no questions asked, according to the Tennessee Lottery.
Slatten frantically raced around town, retracing his steps and desperately hoping his lucky streak was still going strong. Hope seemed to be all but lost as he pulled back into the parking lot of O'Reilly's.
But, miraculously, there it was. Slatten spotted the golden ticket on the pavement under another car, just below the driver's door, according to the press release.
"It's a million-dollar ticket, and someone stepped right over it," Slatten told the Lottery.
Slatten said he and his fiancee, Michelle, plan to use the money to buy a couple of nice cars and a house for themselves, then invest the rest. The couple is hoping they'll be lucky enough to live a worry-free life from here.
Slatten's ticket was one of five $1 million tickets sold in Tennessee in March thus far.
The moral of this story: the next time you see a piece of paper on the ground, maybe consider picking it up.