PORTLAND, Ore. - Mary Peabody won $1,200 playing the Oregon Lottery's Keno game.
She took her ticket to The Lucky Spot in Southeast Portland to claim her prize.
But any prize over $600 has to be claimed at the Oregon Lottery office in Salem.
So Mary left.
And in the excitement, she left her unsigned ticket behind.
"The next day, when she realized she had left the unsigned ticket at The Lucky Spot, the ticket was nowhere to be found," according to the Oregon Lottery.
That was a potential issue.
"By law, Lottery tickets belong to the person who signs the back of the ticket," according to the Oregon Lottery, "which is why the Oregon Lottery always urges people to sign the back of their tickets as soon as possible."
Peabody figured the money was gone.
“The clerk was really upset that the ticket was lost,” she said. “At that point, we thought we had lost $1,200.”
But employees at The Lucky Spot decided to make sure the ticket was truly gone.
“I thought it might have ended up in the garbage on accident,” said Dena Thompson, the manager at The Lucky Spot. “I went out to see if the dumpster had been emptied and it hadn’t yet. So my staff and some of my friends started looking for the ticket.”
Thompson said they went through 6 large bags of garbage before the ticket was found, intact.
“I couldn’t help thinking that this was crazy, we found it!” she said. “We didn’t have a phone number for Mary, so we held onto it until she came in again. I am so proud of our staff for being so honest. Anyone could have found that ticket and signed the back and claimed the prize.”
“You don’t expect people to do that for you,” Peabody said. “She was almost in tears when she told me they found the ticket. The first thing we did was sign it!”
“The funny part is that this all happened during the Feast of Saint Anthony,” said Larry Peabody, Mary’s husband of 60 years. “He is the patron saint of lost things.”