April 8 (UPI) -- A Michigan man rescued a lottery ticket from the trash and discovered it was worth $25,000 a year for life.
Jeff Heinig of Harrison told Michigan Lottery officials his Lucky for Life ticket ended up in the garbage because he incorrectly thought it was worthless.
"I bought a Lucky For Life ticket last Wednesday and then checked it on the Lottery's website Thursday morning," Heinig said. "I didn't match any of the numbers on the site, so I threw my ticket away."
Heinig said he realized his mistake the next day.
"I was back on the website Friday, and the Lucky For Life numbers caught my eye. They were the numbers I always play, and that's when it hit me that I had checked my ticket before the drawing had happened. I searched high and low for the ticket, but couldn't find it anywhere until I went rifling through the trash," he said.
The ticket matched all five white balls drawn in the Thursday night drawing: 03-04-08-16-27.
"When I found it, my heart was pounding. I called my wife, who was out running errands, and she immediately thought something was wrong. I told her I had good news and she needed to get home as soon as she could," the winner said.
Heinig and his wife, Wendy, said the money comes at an opportune time for them.
"We've had a rough start to the year," Wendy Heinig said. "Earlier this year, Jeff had a massive heart attack and actually died three times before they saved his life. We're all so fortunate to still have him with us, and winning this prize means we can enjoy doing some fun things together that we couldn't have afforded before."