Change of luck: Man wins $1M lottery after running out of gas in Kentucky

Sometimes, your luck can change right when you need it to.

That was the case for one Kentucky native who, after running out of fuel on the road on May 18, made an emergency stop at a gas station with only US$40 in his pocket. Michael Schlemmer of Corbin, Ky., spent his cash — $20 on gas and the other $20 on a scratch-off lottery ticket— but left with a $1 million jackpot in hand.

Schlemmer purchased his winning $1,000,000 Luck lottery scratcher from a Convenient Food Mart on U.S. Highway 25 West, the Kentucky Lottery said on its website.

“I ran out of gas, and I coasted in there,” Schlemmer told the lottery.

He made his purchases and returned to his car to scratch the ticket. As he played, Schlemmer revealed the symbol declaring he’d won the lottery’s top prize.

The winning lottery ticket.

The winning $1,000,000 Luck scratch card purchased by Michael Schlemmer on May 18, 2023.

Kentucky Lottery

Schlemmer rushed back into the convenience store and told the employees that he’d won $1 million.

“They about had a fit,” Schlemmer recalled. “The owners of the store were there, and they both started grinning.”

Schlemmer said he refused to believe he’d won the lottery until there was a cheque in his hand. Fortunately for him, he was able to cash out shortly after; Schlemmer was offered a one-time payout or annuity payments.

He chose to accept a lump sum of US$862,000 (over $1,171,000) as his prize, which after taxation totalled $616,330 (nearly $837,300).

Though it would have been a larger amount in the end, the annuity payments would have provided Schlemmer $50,000 (nearly $68,000) every year for two decades.

Schlemmer said he will buy a “newer” vehicle using his winnings. He plans to put the rest into the bank.

Convenient Food Mart will also receive $8,620 (over $11,700) for selling the winning ticket.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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