Kentucky woman wins $175K through office 'white elephant' gift exchange

ByWLKY Digital Team via CNN
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Kentucky woman wins $175K through office 'white elephant' exchange
Ever played the white elephant gift exchange game? Imagine someone swipes your gift worth $25, and you end up with $175,000.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Ever played the white elephant gift exchange game?

Imagine someone swipes your gift worth $25, and you end up with $175,000. That's exactly what happened to a woman in Louisville.

According to the Kentucky Lottery, Lori Janes works at Harmon Dental Center as the office manager and treatment coordinator. Her company holiday party on Tuesday featured a white elephant gift exchange where people have the opportunity to "steal" other people's gifts if something is unwrapped that they like, forcing the original recipient to pick a new, wrapped gift.

Janes picked a $25 TJ Maxx gift card.

She said she was disappointed when it got "stolen" in the game, but she chose another gift that included $25 of scratch-off lottery tickets.

"Once it got to me, it was done and mine to keep. That's when everyone was telling me to scratch them off," Janes said.

She won $50 on the first ticket. When she scratched off the $10 Hit The Jackpot ticket, she won the game's $175,000 top prize.

"Everyone was going insane. People were getting their calculators out and double-checking. A couple of people even scanned the ticket on the lottery's app, just to make sure," Janes said.

Lottery officials said Janes called her husband and kids to share the news, but they had a hard time believing her at first.

"We figured she didn't look at it right, but then we heard people in the background celebrating, it became real," her husband told lottery officials.

Janes, along with her husband and two children, showed up at lottery headquarters just hours later and got a check for $124,250, after taxes.

"This is so crazy. I'm truly blessed," she said.

Janes told lottery officials they will pay off her daughter's student loans and their cars.

Sunrise Market in Fisherville, where the winning scratch-off tickets were sold, will receive a $1,750 bonus.

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