Originally published Monday, July 9, 2018 at 07:58a.m.

A Maryland man who didn’t realize he won $50,000 playing a scratch-off ticket initially gave away his fortune to a friend.

The 67-year-old scratch-off fan said he routinely purchases instant tickets. A heavy equipment mechanic for Baltimore County, the player researches older games that still have unclaimed top prizes and looks for those games in stores. On the day Lottery luck came his way, the Nottingham resident stopped at a discount liquor store in Baltimore to purchase games.

Later, after scratching the instant tickets off and thinking none carried a prize, he handed the batch of games to his loyal friend and co-worker.

His friend routinely takes the lucky player’s non-winning scratch-offs to enter into a secondary contest. But in this case, the friend returned the winning instant ticket after discovering it carried the game’s top prize.

“He told me he had to verify the ticket twice to make sure it was real,” said the lucky winner. “The next day when he gave me the ticket, he said ‘You’re lucky I like you!’”

The father of two grown children and grandfather of two told Lottery officials how grateful he is for his friend’s honesty. “I gave him the biggest hug and almost cried,” said the fortunate player. “I really don’t know how I missed that it was a winner.”

The happy man plans to use the prize to pay off his truck loan and make home improvements.

Information provided by Maryland Lotteries