John Holder must have felt like he couldn’t win for losing.
John Holder, 45, of Columbia, Tennessee, can thank his lucky stars because someone, or something, is watching out for him.
Not that he has always been lucky. He was a roofer by trade until a back injury forced him to live on disability benefits.
He’s lived at an assisted living facility since December.
His luck changed on Sept. 2.
That’s when he bought a winning scratch-off ticket worth $50,000.
Later that day, the ticket went missing.
He was in someone else’s car and a friend asked him if he could hold the winning ticket.
“I let him hold it,” Holder explained.
Then, the ticket was nowhere to be found.
Holder reported the ticket missing to the Columbia Police Department and the Tennessee Lottery.
He told them surveillance videos at the convenience store recorded the winning transaction.
Luckily his signature was on the back of the ticket.
A winning lottery ticket is worth cash to anyone who finds it until it’s signed.
But without the original ticket, it was unclear whether he would ever receive his prize.
Then an anonymous envelope containing the winning ticket was mailed to the Tennessee Lottery headquarters in Nashville.
The letter-sized envelope had no return address, and only the number “50,000” was written on the outside.
It was postmarked “Nashville, TN.”
No message was included other than the words “lost and found” written on a piece of notebook paper folded inside.
Lottery officials called Holder Wednesday to tell him the ticket was found.
After verifying the signature and Holder’s identification, the ticket was validated and he collected his prize.
“I’m speechless,” Holder said in a lottery press release. “It’s good to know someone had a conscience and decided to give this back to me.”
“All I can say is thank you. They didn’t destroy it, so no hard feelings.”
Rebecca Hargrove, President and CEO of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation said, “Thankfully, Mr. Holder followed the recommendation from the store clerk where the ticket was purchased and signed it on the back.”
“We’re delighted this all worked out, and it’s a great lesson for all our winners. Always sign your ticket.”
Always sign your ticket.