Illinois Man Wins Lifetime Prize Thanks To Lucky Mistake

In a stroke of good fortune, a mistake made by someone else saw a 60-year-old resident of Illinois secure a life-changing prize of more than $300,000. Michael Sopejstal’s lucky journey to wealth started when he purchased a Lucky for Life lottery ticket in New Buffalo, Michigan, on Sept. 17.

According to him, he had a routine of making a 50-mile trip to that town every few weeks, where he’d typically eat at his favorite restaurant and play 10 or 20 draws in the Michigan Lucky For Life Lottery. Little did he know that this particular visit would alter the course of his life.

Inside the GoLo gas station in New Buffalo that September, the clerk accidentally printed a ticket with 10 lines for a single draw rather than the 10 draws Sopejstal had originally requested. But Sopejstal accepted the erroneous ticket.

As he recalled, “I asked the retailer for a ticket for 10 draws, but he accidentally printed a ticket with 10 lines for each draw. But I told him I still wanted it.”

Fast forward to one morning when Sopejstal checked his ticket and realized he had won $25,000 a year for life. According to him, the realization was nothing short of incredible for him, as he began “thinking about all the things I could do with the money and whether I wanted to take the lump sum or annuity option.”

“It was an amazing feeling!” he said of how excited he was.

He had a choice to make – take the annual payments of $25,000 for 20 years or receive a one-time lump sum payment of $390,000. He opted for the lump sum, some of which he plans to use for travel.

The rest of the prize money, he said, will be saved for the future.

As for the store clerk at the GoLo gas station, it remains unclear if he received a tip for his unintentional role in this life-changing moment.