The difference in price between a regular scratch-off ticket and a $20 Win for Life Spectacular ticket ended up winning a New York family a $10 million jackpot.
The Kajfasz family of Lancaster, N.Y., a suburb of Buffalo, cashed in on their win Tuesday, holding a ceremonial check from New York State Lottery officials that will result in annual payments in the six figures.
The family of four has both their patriarch, 53-year-old Jerry Kajfasz, and the local convenience store clerk who mistakenly at first offered him the ticket to thank for their new-found fortune.
Kajfasz, a longtime printing company employee, purchased a handful of scratch-off tickets at a local convenience store last month.
When the store clerk, identified by the New York Daily News as 22-year-old Kuljiit Singh, accidentally offered Kajfasz a $20 Win for Life Spectacular ticket, Kajfasz declined, thinking it was too much to spend on a lottery ticket.
Kajfasz had a change of heart, however, after he kept winning on the scratch-off tickets he did purchase.
“I won like seven in a row,” Kajfasz said at the Tuesday news conference with lottery officials.
The married father of two adult children – Jackie and Frank – went back into the store and used his winnings to purchase the $20 ticket he initially declined.
That ticket was a winner that turned the family into millionaires.
“I just sat there and couldn’t believe it,” said Kajfasz, who could not be reached today by ABCNews.com. “I probably looked over the ticket half a dozen times.”
Kajfasz and his wife, Anne, opted to collect 86 percent of the jackpot, which will result in annual payments for them of around $450,000 before taxes. His two children will get about 7 percent, or about $25,000 each a year, the Daily News reported.
The family toasted their win last month with champagne, but only after Kajfasz’s son got the news out of him.
“He wouldn’t tell me what happened,” Frank Kajfasz said of the first phone call from his dad right after his win. “I said, ‘Did you win the lottery?’”
“Well, I didn’t want to tell you this way,” Frank Kajfasz said his dad replied. “Come over as soon as possible. I have some champagne.”
Kajfasz told reporters he has already retired from his job and plans to spend some of his new fortune on a trip to Poland with his mother.
State lottery officials have not responded to a request for comment.