We all know that winning the lottery is not only possible, but truly life changing. The internet is filled with stories of lottery winners whose winnings transformed their everyday lives and transported ordinary people into an extraordinary existence.
But what about those lucky few who had no intention of winning or any hope that a stroke of luck would head their way?
86-year-old Mary Wollens, who lives in the beautiful city of Toronto, bought a lottery ticket in September 2006 and carefully selected her combination, as she did every time she played. A couple of days before the draw, Mary had a dream in which she saw herself standing with her lottery ticket and a large cheque.
She was so inspired by the vision she had had that she went out and purchased another ticket, and chose the exact same combination as the one she had picked earlier that week. Mary was criticised for purchasing two tickets with the exact same numbers, being labelled “foolish” because even if you hit the jackpot, you don’t get credit for winning twice. Nevertheless, Mary stuck with her gut – the best decision she could ever have made.
Another Toronto resident had also picked the winning combination, but instead of having to split the $24 million jackpot between them, Mary’s second ticket meant she could claim two-thirds of the prize! Winning $16 million after being inspired by a dream certainly paid off in her case.
Derek and Dawn Ladner from England, on the other hand, can give credit to Derek's severe case of forgetfulness for their win. In 2007, the 57-year-old couple were home watching the draw when their 6 chosen numbers came up. Ecstatic, they went through to claim their share of £2 395 710 – a total of £479 142 between 5 winners.
One week later, it dawned in Derek that he had actually purchased two tickets, meaning that they had won two-fifths of the winnings. Needless to say the others were not so thrilled – the extra ticket lost them £120 000 each, meaning Derek and Dawn walked away with a total of £958 284!
One of the luckiest wins of all time was 74-year-old Frane Selak from Croatia. Born in 1929, Frane had been dubbed one of the unluckiest men alive after having survived 6 near-death experiences. In 1962, Frane was on a train from Saragevo to Dubrovnik when it derailed and plunged into the icy river nearby. While 17 of the passengers tragically passed away, Frane escaped with only a few cuts and bruises. Just one year later, the cockpit door on his flight from Zagreb to Rijeka blew off, causing the plane to plummet. In this instance, 19 passengers were killed while Frane miraculously landed in a haystack and walked away with only minor injuries.
In 1966, his bus crashed and plunged into yet another icy river, claiming the lives of 4 and leaving Frane with a broken arm. Four years on, tragedy struck again when he narrowly escaped from his car before a faulty fuel pump burst into flames. In 1973, he came under fire again when his car engine exploded, sending flames through the air vents. While he lost most of his hair, he once again walked away (mostly) unscathed. After almost two decades of peace, he was hit by a local bus in 1995, and narrowly escaped death after driving off a cliff to avoid oncoming traffic in 1996. After so many near-death experiences, Frane was prepared for just about any tragedy.
But in 2003, in an amazing twist of fate, he was the of winner of $1 million! He believes that God was watching over him, and that people could change his title from “the UNluckiest” man alive to “the luckiest”.
These stories and countless others provide us with humor and hope that when it comes to the lottery anything is possible. All you have to do is keep trying…you never know what good luck could be around the corner!
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