A flat tire led to a $50,000 Powerball prize for jackpot-chasers Richard and Randi Laufer of New York.
A New York couple traveling from Washington, D.C. to their home in Long Island in October unknowingly picked up Lady Luck as a passenger. Their plan to purchase Powerball tickets in every state, combined with a delay leaving Maryland due to a flat tire, put the jackpot chasers in the right spot to buy a $50,000 winning ticket!
Richard Laufer and his wife Randi were in the District of Columbia for business back on Oct. 26, when the Powerball jackpot reached a whopping $750 million. As they drove north, they decided to purchase Powerball tickets in as many states as possible in hopes of stopping the jackpot’s roll.
A flat tire, however, stopped their roll! The couple wound up at the Maryland House Travel Plaza on Interstate Highway 95 in Aberdeen to wait for service. While there, they bought a $2 quick-pick Powerball ticket for the Oct. 27 drawing. The Powerball players eventually continued their trek north, purchasing more tickets along the way.
“I just put them all in my wallet and continued life as normal,” said 54-year-old Richard. “I didn’t find out I had a winner until Wednesday (Jan. 2).”
The financial regulator was at work cleaning out his wallet when he came across the tickets. He began checking the numbers and was shocked when he got to the ticket purchased in Maryland.
“I checked online and noticed right away that I had three numbers,” said the happy winner. “Then, I realized it was really four numbers and I thought, ‘Wait a second!’ I had matched the Powerball, too!” Matching four white balls and the Powerball guarantees a $50,000 prize.
Richard immediately called Randi, who works from home as a psychotherapist, and shared the wonderful news.
“He was so calm when he told me he thought we won $50,000,” she said, smiling. “I told him to stop playing.” Still not completely sure of the big win, the couple checked the ticket numerous times to make sure the $50,000 prize was real. They plan to donate some of the winnings to the ALS Association and other charities and put some funds aside for a vacation.
The jackpot is again on a roll and set for $82 million for Saturday’s drawing. The cash option is $50.2 million.