A couple endured a rollercoaster ride of emotions when a lottery ticket worth 50 million dollars (£30m) went missing – only to be found and returned by someone at their church.
Hakeem Nosiru won the January 17 Lotto Max draw and was one day away from claiming the money when the signed ticket, which he taped to the inside of his wife’s handbag for safekeeping, was missing after they attended church.
That sparked a frantic search of their home, with rubbish bins upended and their contents picked through, an effort that left Mr Nosiru and his wife, who are originally from Nigeria, empty handed and feeling “miserable”.
But their despair turned to joy after a fellow member of the congregation discovered the ticket and reunited it with the couple on April 1 – a return made possible because Mr Nosiru signed the ticket with their address.
But the saga was not yet over, as Mr Nosiru had to give the ticket to Ontario Provincial Police, investigating the matter for Ontario Lottery and Gaming to make there are no further snags.
Thankfully everything checked out and Mr Nosiru and his wife Abiola were beaming for the cameras at the OLG prize centre, telling of plans to travel the world and help their family.
Fighting back tears, Mrs Nosiru said that when she realised her husband’s winning ticket had disappeared from her bag “I had a fly in my stomach and I couldn’t sleep for days. I couldn’t eat. I was devastated”.
“We just wanted to see the reality. And the reality is right here now.”
She said she was not sure what they will do for the woman who ended the ticket’s exodus, but told her “I just want to say thank you”.