White elephant parties during the holidays are a fun tradition for many. Sometimes, it can get a little crazy as gifts are chosen and then “stolen” many times over the course of the exchange. Inevitably, one person may feel a little disappointed in what they ended up with in the end.
That’s how Lori Janes of Louisville, Kentucky initially felt as her annual work holiday party wound down. Janes, who works at Harmon Dental, told WLWT 5 News she initially chose a $25 gift card to TJ Maxx and was pleased with her gift.
However, a co-worker “stole” her gift, as is allowed in the rules of the white elephant exchange. So, Janes decided to take a $25 pack of instant scratch-off lottery tickets, which had already been stolen once before.
“Once it got to me, it was done and mine to keep. That’s when everyone was telling me to scratch them off,” she said in the official Kentucky Lottery press release.
Everyone in the room started to urge her to scratch off the tickets and that’s when the party really got exciting. Janes won $50 on her first ticket.
Then, she scratched off a $10 Hit the Jackpot ticket, shown below in a short video embedded into a Twitter post from @kylottery. All 15 numbers on it were a winner, which meant she won the $175,000 grand prize.
— Kentucky Lottery (@kylottery) December 2, 2022
“Everyone was going insane. People were getting their calculators out and double-checking. A couple of people even scanned the ticket on the lottery’s app, just to make sure,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. It was a $25 gift exchange, and I won $175,000!”
After the chaos at the party died down, Janes said she called her family to share the news. A few hours later, they all went down to the lottery headquarters to confirm her prize and accept her winnings.
Word of the holiday surprise win quickly made the news and the Kentucky Lottery confirmed the news by sharing the news about Janes with her big check with media outlets like WDRB news, then re-tweeting it on their own social media account.
What will the dental worker do with her holiday winnings, which totaled $124,250 after taxes? The Kentucky Lottery reported she plans to pay off her family’s cars and her daughter’s student loans.
“This is so crazy. I’m truly blessed,” she told the Kentucky Lottery.