A Kansas couple almost let a million dollars slip through their fingers when they left their winning lottery ticket behind at a gas station, and they never would've known about their amassed fortune had it not been for a good samaritan.
On March 18, store clerk Andy Patel was working behind the counter at the Pit Stop gas station in Salina when a regular longtime customer handed him three lottery tickets.
Kal Patel's $1M Lottery Ticket Return to Owner His 'Good Deed' for Life https://t.co/SRJVoUJKKr— Morning Answer (@Morning Answer) 1528461748.0
He dismissed the customer after checking two of the tickets – both non-winners, and forgot to inspect the third. Andy discovered the neglected ticket wound up being the million dollar-winner, but by that time, the customer had already gone.
Kal Patel, whose parents own the gas station, double-checked the authenticity of the winning ticket after Andy notified him of the blunder.
Man Returns Lost $1 Million Winning Lottery Ticket | https://t.co/iYr2AcXv0t https://t.co/VsZ8fXzrzi #SmartNews— BusyRebel🌊 (@BusyRebel🌊) 1528452516.0
Kal told local news station KWCH:
After they left he realized, oh crap, there's another ticket on the thing, so he checked the other ticket and that's the one that ended up being a million dollar winner.
Led by his good conscience, he was determined to track down the customer to return the ticket.
They didn't know they had the winning ticket, so they never would have known if I hadn't found them. But then you'd have to live through the guilt of that all your life.
If you found a winning lottery ticket, would you return it to its rightful owner? That's what Kal Patel did when h… https://t.co/cubRcaFO93— Charles E Gaudet II (@Charles E Gaudet II) 1528464159.0
Kal drove to the neighborhood where he knew the man lived hoping to locate his car, but he was unable to identify any of the parked vehicles along the street.
After the failed attempt, Kal returned to the store and spotted the customer and his brother pulling away by happenstance. The resolute samaritan followed them until the driver recognized the convenience store clerk and pulled over.
"I showed them the ticket and told them they were winners," he told The Garden City Telegram. "They started shaking. They couldn't believe it."
God #bless Kal&Andy Patel for being great people 😇 Daily dose of #awesome The 2 convenience store workers found a w… https://t.co/7lzcatXQwM— Luke Everhart (@Luke Everhart) 1528470765.0
They all returned to the Pit Stop to confirm the winning numbers.
All of them matched with winning numbers. And that's how they were millionaires.
Did you hear? Gas station clerk finds $1 million lottery ticket and returns it to buyer instead of claiming it for… https://t.co/RIwDYuVxyP— Lisa Hays (@Lisa Hays) 1522068029.0
Kal told the Telegram that if the same opportunity were to present itself again, he would make the same decision to give the winning ticket to its rightful owner.
If it had just been dropped and we didn't know whose it was, then we wouldn't have known where to look. But we did. It felt good to give it to them. And the praise we got back from everyone for doing this was really nice. They said it restored their faith in humanity.
The newly announced millionaire wishes to remain anonymous.
A Kansas man, KAL PATEL, who returned a $1 Million lottery ticket to a customer who left it on the counter says he… https://t.co/DMtYyKgOSe— charles benjamin (@charles benjamin) 1528372703.0
According to People, both Kal and Andy were awarded the Helping Hand for their honesty, earning $1,200 from local firm, DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers.
The good deed wound up being a win-win for everyone involved.