An upstate New York man is now a millionaire ten times over or more, thanks to a lucky streak and his instinct to follow a hunch.
In January, Jerry Kajfasz, 53, of Lancaster, New York, stepped into Depew One Stop on his day off to purchase cigars and seven assorted New York Lotteryscratch-off tickets. As reported by the New York Daily News, the clerk, Kuljit Singh, mistakenly handed Kajfasz a $20 “Win for Life Spectacular” ticket instead of the $10 “Set for Life” ticket he asked for. Thinking that $20 was too much to pay for one ticket, Mr. Kajfasz gave the erroneous ticket back in exchange for the $10 ticket. The lottery player returned to his truck in the One Stop parking lot and scratched off his seven tickets.
The Buffalo News reported that at a press conference this week Kajfasz recalled, “I kept winning on the scratch-off tickets…I won like seven in a row. I just got lucky.” He won a total of $25 from his seven tickets. On a hunch, Kajfasz rode his lucky streak and decided to go back into the store, telling the clerk, “Give me that ticket you almost gave me by accident.” He scratched off the “Win for Life” ticket and was overwhelmed by the winning result he saw before him. “I just sat there and couldn’t believe it,” Kajfasz told reporters. “Shocked. I probably looked over the ticket half a dozen times.” He was so amazed that he had Singh confirm his win. Singh told the NY Daily News, “He was shaking and everything.”
Mr. Kajfasz and his family were presented with a ceremonial $10 million check during the press conference. They are guaranteed to collect at least $10 million dollars (pretax) but could get more at a rate of $10,000 a week for life. With the option of how the family wanted to collect its winnings, Jerry and his wife, Anne chose to take 86 percent (almost $300,000 a year after taxes) and his son and daughter will each collect 7 percent. The ticket is also in their son’s name so they can still collect after Jerry’s lifetime.
Jerry recently retired from the printing job he’s held for 27 years and plans to take his mother on a trip to her native Poland to visit family.