Thanks to an apparent honest mistake by a gas station clerk, a 60-year-old Illinois man is nearly $400,000 richer.
According to a press release, Sopejstal traveled to The Great Lakes State from his hometown and bought the winning ticket at a GoLo gas station in New Buffalo, a town near Lake Michigan about 70 miles from Chicago.
Every few weeks, Sopejstal said, he visits Michigan "to eat at his favorite restaurant."
"I always get a Lucky for Life ticket for 10 or 20 draws while I’m here,” Sopejstal said during a recent trip to the Michigan Lottery headquarters.
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A lump sum payout instead
The lucky winner said he asked the retailer for a ticket for 10 draws, but the clerk "accidentally printed" a ticket with 10 lines for one draw.
"I told him I still wanted it," Sopejstal recalled. “I checked my ticket one morning and saw that I had won $25,000 a year for life. I immediately started thinking about all the things I could do with the money... It was an amazing feeling!”
The lucky lotto winner chose to receive his winnings as a one-time lump sum payment of $390,000, rather than payments of $25,000 a year for life, according to the release.
Sopejstal said he plans to use the money to travel and put the rest into savings.
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When is the Lucky for Life next drawing?
According to the state lottery website, Lucky for Life players can win prizes ranging from $3 to a lifetime of cash.
Tickets are $2 each, and to win the game’s top prize − $1,000 a day for life − players need to match all five winning numbers plus one "Lucky Ball" number. Those who match all five winning numbers, but not the "Lucky Ball" win $25,000 a year for life.
The state's next Lucky for Life drawing is Monday night.
Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on X @nataliealund.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lucky for Life lottery win: Man wins $390K after clerk's mistake