Quite A Ride: Kentucky Woman Turns $50 Into $50K, Can’t Drive Home

Eric Raskin

Latoyar Waddell kentucky lottery winer

Of all the reasons to get an emergency phone call from your sister needing a ride home, “because she just won $50,000 in the lottery” has to be about the best possible one.

Latoyar Waddell of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, made that very phone call to her sister in March, because she was so floored by the shock and excitement of winning on a scratch-off ticket that she felt unable to operate a motor vehicle safely.

“I almost passed out. I couldn’t breathe,” Waddell said, according to the Kentucky Lottery. “I was really numb. I couldn’t even go to work that night.” 

Expensive tastes

Waddell made an impulse buy while waiting in the checkout line at the North Main Marathon store in Hopkinsville, purchasing a $50 Millionaire Club ticket. She noted afterward that usually doesn’t spend that much money on lottery tickets, but decided to take a shot.

The Kentucky Lottery offers scratch games ranging from $1 to $50 — so Waddell was shelling out for a ticket at the top-tier price point.

(Quick responsible gambling aside from Lottery Geeks: Even though this purchase happened to pay off for Waddell, it is generally not advised to rashly increase your lottery spending amounts.)

Latoyar Waddell win screenshot
What Waddell saw on the app when checking her ticket

Waddell began scratching the ticket in the store, and gradually realized she’d won something, but was new to the particular scratch-off game and was confused by the rules initially. She revealed two “500X $20” prizes in the bonus area of the ticket and thought maybe she’d won $10,000.

So she took the ticket to the person working the register to have it scanned, and learned she’d turned her $50 into $50,000.

“I about came out of my shoes,” she said. “I literally couldn’t believe it.”

Can you check that again?

Waddell was so disbelieving, in fact, that she scanned the ticket over and over on the Kentucky Lottery app, needing repeated confirmations of her good fortune.

Then she made the call to her sister for that ride home.

As it happens, Waddell says she plans to use some of her winnings — $36,000 after taxes — to buy a new vehicle. Of course, a new vehicle is only worth having if you’re in a steady enough state to drive it.

Waddell’s first grandchild is due later this year, and she plans to use some of the winnings on spoiling the baby, as well.

For selling the $50,000 ticket, the North Main Marathon store receives a $500 prize.