On January 1, 2014, someone walked into the South Shore Shell gas station in League City, Texas, bought a ticket for Lotto Texas drawing later that evening, and won the $12 million jackpot. The winner never claimed their prize, but station owner Shawn Mohammed says business has been booming ever since his establishment was linked to such a big win.
All year customers have been digging out their old tickets and bringing them in to be double-checked and Mohammed has noticed a steady rise in sales.
"Here’s the thing," Mohammed said. "People were searching their homes upside down for a ticket they might have not bought to see if that was the one."
One day a customer came in with over 100 old tickets.
"She could have gotten them checked anywhere, but she had to come to us," Mohammed pointed out. "It’s been quite fun sometimes and it also gives people hope."
The winner has lost their prize for good. The claim deadline expired on Monday, but Mohammad will still receive a $121,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket and he has a theory about why the prize was never claimed. "My personal guess is that they left it in their jeans, washed it or sent it to the dry cleaners and probably lost it like that," he said.
Mohammed plans to use his retailer's bonus to fund store improvements and maintenance and is even considering splashing out on some new gas pumps.