Lottery store manager dives into a DUMPSTER to look for couple's winning ticket


They say one person’s trash is another’s treasure, and this was proved when a couple lost their winning $1,200 ticket this week.

But they were saved by Dena Thompson, store manager at a local lottery shop in southeast Portland who went above and beyond to help them.

Last week, Mary Peabody’s husband Larry came home with a big surprise, reported KPTV.

“He left for work and then he came home and handed me the ticket and said 'put this in a safe place, and it's for you,’” Peabody said.


Dena Thompson, manager of The Lucky Spot, who searched the dumpster where she found the lost ticket. PHOTO: KPTV Video

It was a $1,200 winning lottery ticket her husband bought at the Lucky Spot store at Southeast 148th Avenue and Southeast Stark Street.

But the couple’s winnings were too high to redeem within the store, so Peabody says they went to Wilsonville to cash it.


The winning ticket was bought at the Lucky Spot store at Southeast 148th Avenue and Southeast Stark Street. PHOTO: KPTV

But when they pulled out their envelope where they thought it was, the ticket wasn’t there that day. They searched everywhere and couldn’t find it.

So, they returned to the Lucky Spot, hoping by mere chance the store still had it.

“She said 'it's not here I don't have it,’” Peabody said. “So she said maybe somebody will look for it in the garbage tonight.”

That’s when Manager Deana Thompson took her efforts to a whole new level by dumper diving to find the ticket.

“Went through everything and we just brought all the trash in and we lined it up on the outside and brought some inside and started going through it one by one,” Thompson said.

In mounds of all that garbage, they eventually found the needle in a haystack.


“It was a lot of hours, but yeah,” Thompson said. “For 48 hours when I had the ticket waiting I was just so excited I couldn't wait to see her.”

Peabody was able to cash in that $1,200 winning ticket.

The couple was stunned by the amazing act of customer service.