A man from East Orange, New Jersey nearly missed out on a life-changing winning lottery ticket - and has the evening news to thank for the last minute reminder.
Jimmie Smith, 68, reportedly purchased several lottery tickets from a convenience and smoke shop located on 158 Church Street in New York City at some point back in the spring - and had forgotten they were still sitting in one of his old shirt pockets.
Smith was casually watching the news one evening, when he heard an announcement saying the time was ticking for one lucky mega millions winner to claim their prize.
That's when he rummaged through his closet and took out the tickets he had previously purchased, scanned the slips, and was utterly stunned by what he saw before his eyes - the lucky numbers, 5-12-13-22-25-35.
Jimmie Smith, 68, was named the $24.1M jackpot prize winner by New York Lottery
Smith purchased several lottery tickets from a convenience and smoke shop located on 158 Church Street in New York City at some point back in the spring
He said he had forgotten they were still sitting in one of his old shirt pockets until he heard an announcement on the evening news that the winner had yet to come forward
When he claimed his prize just two days shy of its expiration, he told officials: 'I ended up with a stack - a pile of tickets, including the one they were talking about on the news,' according to the New York Lottery official website.
'I stood there for a minute thinking, 'Do I see what I think I see?' I had to stick my head out the window and breathe in some fresh air ... I was in serious doubt. I really had to convince myself this was real,' Smith added.
When discussing why it took so long to review the winning ticket, Smith said he kept telling himself he would 'check them when (he had) the time.'
On Wednesday, the New York Lottery finally announced to the public that the father-of-two was the winner of the $24.1million jackpot from the May 23 claiming.
The Lottery had apparently been undergoing a lengthy security check which was finally completed this week before the public announcement.
Smith, who is now a retired security guard, told officials he's been hopelessly purchasing various lottery tickets for several decades around New Jersey and New York City.
He was stunned by what he saw before his eyes - the lucky numbers, 5-12-13-22-25-35
He won his hefty hunk of loot through the jackpot game 'Lotto' - which is found through a six winning number process.
According to the website, the chances of having all six numbers matching at the highest prize level are a shocking one in 45,057,474.
The website - which shared further details on Smith's exciting story - said the grandfather will receive 'laddered payments' over the course of the next 26 years.
Smith plans to have a sit-down discussion with his loved ones on how to handle the money most appropriately.
The New York Lottery is said to be North America's 'largest and most profitable - contributing $3.27 billion in fiscal year 2016-2017 to help support education in New York State,' the Lottery reports.
The New York Lottery is said to be North America's 'largest and most profitable'
It also aids in important causes by distributing to 'total state education aid to local school districts.'
Furthermore, its 'revenue is distributed to local school districts by the same statutory formula used to distribute other state aid to education.'
This 'takes into account both a school district's size and its income level; larger, lower-income school districts receive proportionately larger shares of Lottery school funding.'
Just prior to the announcement of Smith's prize, Lottery revealed some other recent winners - which include a group of 16 insurance company employees from areas around the NYC Metro Region and Long Island.
The fortuitous winners claimed their collective prize of $1,000,000 from a July 'Powerball' drawing, with the lucky set of 05–32–44–53–60-09.
The group, who refers to themselves as the Processors 16 LLC, told lottery officials they 'always make sure (they) play both and every week.'