Lottery ticket seller Manuel Reija has been waiting for over 3 years to claim a multi-million dollar win.
Lottery salesman Manuel Reija found a El Gordo lottery ticket left on the counter in his licensed lottery store in Galicia, Spain.
“I usually throw away the tickets I see lying around but this one surprised me because it was very well preserved, as if it had been ironed,” Manuel Reija recalled.
He said that he decided to check the ticket in the electronic machine, “just out of curiosity”.
It was worth €4.7 million (US$5.2M).
School children assist in an El Gordo televised draw in 2014.
“When the prize came up on the screen my legs went wobbly. My face must have been a picture. I checked it twice, three times before I realised what I was holding in my hands.”
Three and a half years later, Mr Reija is still waiting for the owner of the ticket to come forward. If not, the prize will be his.
“I am not thinking about that money,” Mr Reija told The Telegraph. “Whatever happens I will carry on working in the store.”
Mr Reija took the mislaid lucky ticket to A Coruña’s branch of the state lottery administration, where he was told that an official process had to be followed in order to give the original purchaser a chance to reclaim their number.
Dressing up is all part of the El Gordo tradition.
When a notification was eventually published in the Galician region’s official gazette, more than 200 people pressed their claim.
But none managed to convince the authorities that it really was their ticket, unable to prove the purchase or recall any peculiarities or stains.
In September the claim period expired but Mr Reija is still waiting while a reported 10 lawsuits brought by people claiming the ticket are played out.
“Court decisions normally take a long time in this country”, sighed Mr Reija. Meanwhile, he said he was hoping to have sold his first winning number for the Fat One draw, in which 160 series of the winning number will be worth €4 million each.
“Let’s hope I bring someone some luck tomorrow because that is what this job is all about.”
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