(NewsNation) — Imagine throwing away a winning lotto ticket and then hoping you can find it — that’s what happened to Mary Elliott, who had to search her garbage to claim her $110,000 prize.
Elliott is no stranger to playing the lottery, and in fact, she plays every day. However, it was a Cash Five ticket that led to her winnings. She said she used to play Cash Five regularly about 13 or 14 years ago and missed it by one number with the same set of numbers she won with this time around.
“Something just told me about a week and a half before the 24th to play cashback, and I did,” Elliot recalled.
Elliot said she purchased several tickets and left them on her dining room table. She later cleaned the table and threw them away with other trash, not even checking the tickets.
“I didn’t even check the Cash Five because Cash Five was not on my mind. Winning those tickets on 11, 21, I had six or seven tickets on that; that’s what I thought was coming out,” she recalled.
Elliott eventually realized she may have won and called her daughter, Raye Elliott, to help her look up the winning numbers.
“I immediately went to the site; I immediately saw that it was where the ticket was bought, what store was bought, what town, and I said, “These are your numbers, you won,'” Raye recalled.
Mary said she doesn’t plan on keeping the money; she plans to donate it to Raye’s nonprofit organization Flipp, Inc.
“I really don’t need anything. God has given me everything I need, and I feel like there’s some people out there that need help,” Mary said.
Raye’s organization helps previously convicted people transition back into society.
“I did not know that she was going to do that. She has seen me trying to help so many people. And I’m really passionate about my organization,” Raye said. “We’ve just completed a building for our training space here in Dillon, Virginia. It’s just an amazing thing for my mom to do.”