For the last five months, a Los Angeles woman has been driving around with $23 million in her car -- and she didn't even know it.
The millions were in the form of a winning California Lottery ticket, purchased May 30 at Michael's Market & Liquor in Palmdale. The woman then forgot the ticket in her car. And so, for five long months, say lottery officials, no one stepped up to claim the prize.
That changed Thursday when a newspaper published a surveillance camera photo of the mystery victor. According to ABC News, the winner's daughter took a picture of the photo on her cell phone and shared it with her mother.
“When her daughter sent her mother a picture of the newspaper this morning, she just went back out to the car and the ticket was sitting right where she left it," said California Lottery spokesperson Alex Traverso to ABC. "Pretty amazing.”
The woman had forgotten the ticket in her glove box, adds the LA Times.
No word yet on how the woman will claim her prize. If she opts to take it all in one lump sum, officials say she'll walk away with about $16.9 million in cash. The store that sold the ticket will also rake in a bonus of 0.5 percent of the jackpot's worth. If half a percent sounds puny, it isn't: That's $115,000.
California Lottery winners have a window of 180 days to claim their money; after that, the money helps fund California schools. If the woman hadn't stepped up by November 26, 2012, that would have been the fate of her millions.
According to the Associated Press, more than $20.5 million in lottery winnings from the California Lottery have gone unclaimed from 2011 - 2012.
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