It might be too late for readers who are already stuffing their faces with turkey. But for those who are still tidying up the house in anticipation of Thanksgiving dinner guests, take note: Don't throw out old lottery tickets without checking the numbers first.
A couple from Mandeville, La., was sprucing up the house earlier this week when they came across a five-month-old Louisiana Lotto ticket taking up space on their nightstand. It turned out to be worth $1.8 million, NBC affiliate WDSU reported.
Harold and Tina Ehrenberg bought the winning jackpot ticket for the June 6 drawing then proceeded to forget all about it.
"We have family coming into town for Thanksgiving, so I was cleaning up the house and found a few lottery tickets on my nightstand that we hadn't checked," Tina Ehrenberg said during the couple's trip to lottery headquarters on Monday.
She said she and her husband immediately checked the numbers against the Lottery's website records.
She called out numbers while her husband held the ticket.
"Let me know what you think?" she asked her husband.
Every number was a match.
"We kept checking the numbers again and again," Harold Ehrenberg told Louisiana Lottery officials. "Plus, I called the winning numbers hotline over and over," his wife added.
Officials said the couple discovered the ticket just in the nick of time. The prize was set to expire two weeks later. "Prizes for draw-style games must be claimed within 180 days of the drawing in which the prize was won," according to the Louisiana Lottery rules.
It's a holiday fairytale ending for the couple, who said they plan to save the windfall-- $1,274,313 after state and federal taxes — for retirement.
"We don't have any plans to buy anything crazy or go on any big trips," Tina Ehrenberg said.
"The most fun is going to be depositing that check," Harold Ehrenberg added.
For now, the couple has an extra 1.2 million reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving.