Superstorm Sandy Cleanup Unearths Giant Prize for Lucky Landscaper

With destruction from Superstorm Sandy destruction all around him, landscaper Marvin Rosales Martinez caught a glimpse of an object that didn’t seem to belong among the pile of leaves he was clearing.

A soaking, mangled “Win $1,000 a Week for Life” scratch-off ticket, according to CNN. And with all numbers appearing to be winners, the New York Post reported.

A shot of the winning ticket (Image source: WCBS-TV)

His mom, Maria Martinez, told the New York Daily News that she suggested he toss the ticket, but the 27-year-old resident of Hicksville on Long Island decided to ride out his you-never-know moment back in October 2012.

“Whoever threw it away probably didn’t realize there was a prize,” he told the Post, adding that he dried the ticket underneath a lamp.

According to a New York Lottery statement, he then brought the ticket to a 7-Eleven.

But the store couldn’t scan it, according to WCBS-TV in New York, adding that workers at the convenience store detected that the ticket was valuable and instructed Rosales Martinez — who needed an English interpreter on camera — to take it to lottery officials.

It wasn’t until November 9, 2012 when Rosales Martinez brought the ticket to the lottery’s Long Island Customer Service Center where officials conducted a “standard and thorough internal security investigation” to ensure the validity and ownership of the ticket, CNN reported.

More than a year later, officials confirmed Friday that it was one of five winning tickets, CNN added.

Rosales Martinez opted to receive his jackpot prize as a one-time lump sum payment, CNN noted, and will receive a payment of $779,106, netting him $515,612 after required tax withholdings, according to the release.

More from the Post:

“This won’t change the way I live my life,” he said. “I’m still going to keep working six days a week.”

Martinez, who came to America from El Salvador six years ago, plans to send money back home, buy a house for him and his wife, help his mother pay off Sandy repairs “and maybe switch jobs and become a truck driver.”

“My wife and I didn’t go on a honeymoon, so maybe we’ll take a trip to Miami or something,” he said. “I want to keep living a normal life. This won’t change us.”

Here’s a report from WCBS: