A Des Moines, Iowa man claimed a $1 million Powerball prize Monday morning, a day after his winning ticket was nearly lost.
Pete Kemp of Des Moines explained that when he had his winning ticket checked at a convenience store on Sunday, in the process of getting paperwork from the lottery terminal, the clerk accidentally threw away his ticket. Kemp said he realized the mistake within seconds and went back into the store, where the clerk was able to retrieve his ticket -- which had been torn in two -- from the trash. They taped it back together at the store.
"I was in the parking lot. I was backing up, but I stopped and I went back in," Kemp said. "I did realize that I didn't have the ticket."
Kemp, 47, who works as a transportation driver, said winning a big prize just seemed unreal.
"I believe it now!" he said with a laugh as he looked at his prize check from the lottery. "Even on the way over here, I was wondering. I didn't want to set myself up. It's all coming together right now."
Kemp purchased his winning ticket at the Cash Saver supermarket, 4121 Fleur Dr. in Des Moines. He came close to winning at least a share of Saturday's $110 million jackpot, matching the first five numbers but missing the Powerball.
Kemp said that he plans to use his lottery winnings to plan for retirement, but also will likely have a celebratory dinner with his five children.
"I'm thinking about my retirement," he said. "I want to make sure I have enough to live! Who knows how much things will cost in another 20 years."
Kemp, who said he regularly plays Powerball and Mega Millions, said he has been feeling lucky of late, winning a lot of $1 prizes in the past month.
"When I didn't have a winner, I would say, 'Well, everything is normal,'" Kemp said with a laugh on Monday. "In this case, everything wasn't normal. It was a surprise."
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