Flight attendant stranded in Kentucky buys Powerball ticket — and the delay pays off

A Utah resident had to rearrange his work schedule to head back to Kentucky and claim his lottery winnings.

A Utah resident had to rearrange his work schedule to head back to Kentucky and claim his lottery winnings.

Kentucky Lottery

A flight attendant who got stranded in a Kentucky airport now says Hebron is the “best place” he’s ever been.

That’s because the Utah resident left the Kentucky city much richer after winning a Jan. 1 Powerball jackpot.

After he was stranded on Dec. 28, the well-traveled flight attendant stopped at a convenience store near the airport while searching for something to eat, a Kentucky Lottery news release said.

“I went in the store and while checking out, I thought, ‘I’m going to buy three sets of numbers for three drawings,’” the flight attendant, who chose not to be identified, said.

His home state of Utah doesn’t have a state lottery, so he enjoys playing during his travels, the release said.

For this lottery play, he chose the Quick Pick option, which let the lottery processing system choose the numbers, the release said.

Several days went by before the flight attendant checked the ticket. After he was home from Kentucky, he realized he’d matched five numbers.

The flight attendant took to Reddit to post he was one number away from winning the $441 million jackpot, the release said.

One helpful Reddit user pointed out that he still would be able to pocket some cash.

After doing some research, the release said, he realized the user was right — he’d won $50,000.

“This is crazy. I’ve never had this much money fall into my lap. It’s amazing,” he said in the release.

But he still had to figure out how to get back to Kentuckyto claim his winnings. He put his ticket on the refrigerator until he got a coworker to switch shifts so he could head back to the Bluegrass State.

He received $35,500 after taxes from his time being stranded in Hebron, Kentucky.

The winner told lottery officials he will likely use the money for a down payment on a house.


When gambling is more than a game

Gambling is designed to be a source of entertainment.

If you or a loved one shows signs of gambling addiction, you can seek help by calling the national gambling hotline at 1-800-522-4700 or visiting the National Council on Problem Gambling website.

Mariah Rush is a National Real-Time Reporter. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and has previously worked for The Chicago Tribune, The Tampa Bay Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer.


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