One woman's incredible regret over what looks like will end up as a $26 million mistake could turn into good fortune for tons of other people.

On November 14, 2020, a woman walked into a convenience store in Norwalk, California, and purchased a SuperLotto Plus lottery ticket. That ticket ended up being worth $26 million. There's just one problem... she can't find it.

The Hill reports the woman who bought the ticket returned to the ARCO am/pm convenience store after last fall's drawing and told them she had put the winning ticket in her pocket. The pocket of a shirt she washed. That's what she believes anyway... that the ticket was destroyed. She hasn't been able to locate it.

Last Thursday, May 13, was day number 180 after the drawing. That was the final day the unnamed woman could present the winning ticket for all that money. Here's the very devastating thing for the would-be winner: the store has a video that shows the woman buying the ticket. The California Lottery has taken a look at the video but they say it's simply not enough. Officials say you must be able to present a photo of the front and back of the winning ticket if you can't produce the actual ticket. Ouch.

Cathy Johnston, the spokeswoman for the California Lottery, says the woman hasn't reached out to them about the ticket. She told KCTV,

If she did, we will investigate as we always do. If she did not, there is nothing to investigate and no more we can do.

She hasn't reached out?! That's not how I'd handle it. I'd be at lottery headquarters bawling my head off, on my knees begging. Admittedly, it probably wouldn't do a lot of good.

It all seems a little unfair, doesn't it? Clearly, the lottery machine shows it spit out a ticket with the winning numbers at the time the woman bought it. And if the video shows the ticket being handed to the woman at that same time, shouldn't that be enough? That's video proof that she was in possession of the ticket.

If this poor soul doesn't end up getting the situation resolved, the public schools of California will receive $19.7 million, the cash value of the jackpot. The ARCO store still cashed in $130,000 for selling the winning ticket.

As of this writing, there are 76 unclaimed prizes from the Iowa Lottery, with the largest being a ticket worth $15,000 that was purchased in Des Moines nearly a month ago. There are more than 25 unclaimed prizes of at least $1,000 that were purchased in eastern Iowa. You can see the full list of unclaimed Iowa Lottery prizes HERE.

Oh, and be sure to take pictures of any ticket you purchase. And don't store your phone and lottery tickets in the same place.

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