Dec. 11 (UPI) -- A Maryland man said he has his best friend's novel to thank for inspiring him to buy a lottery ticket that won him $50,000.
The Montgomery County man, identified only as Alex, told Maryland Lottery officials his friend wrote a fictional novel, Sunrise at the American Market, and the tome inspired him and his friends to emulate the characters in the book by meeting for morning coffee at a local convenience store.
Alex said the characters in the novel meet each morning at the store to drink coffee and play scratch-off tickets, so he bought a $1,000,000 Blowout scratch-off during a recent morning coffee at the Auburn Exxon in Bethesda.
The ticket turned out to be a $50,000 winner.
"Originally, when I saw the ticket and saw that I won, I immediately said, 'This must be a mistake,'" Alex said. "I gasped, thinking there was no way I could possibly win that much!"
Alex said he plans to spend some of the money on his children and save the rest for the future.