Topeka man's $50k lottery ticket accidentally thrown away (but he got it back)

Kevin Hayek won $50,000 playing Powerball, but had to retrieve his ticket after it accidentally was thrown away (Source: Kansas Lottery)
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — Imagine finding out you've won $50,000 playing the lottery, then showing up for work and finding out you don't have the winning ticket any more.

Well, that scary moment was a real thing for one Topeka man. According to the Kansas Lottery, Kevin Hayek stopped for some coffee and thought he'd check to see if any of his old Powerball tickets were worth anything.

Turns out one he bought for the October 18th drawing hit it big, to the tune of $50,000.

“The first ticket the store clerk scanned wasn’t a winner, but when she scanned the next ticket, the machine just went crazy. Neither one of us had ever seen anything like it” said Hayek. “It printed out this long claim form, and the clerk gave it to me and I put it in my pocket and went to my job site.”

But, Hayek still had to go to work (it's not like he hit that day's $156 million jackpot). When he got there, he started going over the claim form with one of his co-workers when he noticed something missing: the ticket itself!

“When I realized I didn’t have the ticket, I hopped back into the truck and went back to the store. The clerk had accidentally thrown it away with the non-winning ticket!” Hayek said.

Fortunately for Hayek, the trash hadn't been taken out and he wouldn't have to go dumpster diving. After digging out the ticket, Hayek headed back to work, where he finally had a chance to see how much he won.

Hayek, who has worked for Topeka Public Schools for 36 years, says he's going to use the money to pay off some loans and give his motorcycle a "facelift."

“I’ve never won more than $2 or $4 before. I didn’t believe I had won at first, but it’s finally starting to sink in,” he added.

The Kansas Lottery notes the winning lottery ticket had been sold at the Kwik Shop, at 746 NE Wabash Ave.