SOUTHWICK (CBS) - As Abhi Shah stocked the soda fridge at his parents Lucky Stop convenience store in Southwick on Monday, he lamented his very brief windfall.
"I was a millionaire for a night," he said while laughing.
He's referring to a visit several weeks ago from Lea Fiega, whose lunchtime purchase included a $30 Massachusetts State Lottery "Diamond Millions" ticket, which she hurriedly scratched, frowned at the result, and handed it back to Abhi's mom, as customers often do when they don't win.
"And my mom took the ticket and put it behind the counter," Abhi said.
But Abhi came across the ticket in his down time days later, and discovered matching 16s, to the tune of $1 million before taxes.
"I decided that I want to buy a Tesla first and then we'll see what I'm going to do the rest of the money," he said.
Thing is, Fiega is a regular customer at the convenience store, and the family who runs it knew the ticket was hers. And the only reason she had surrendered it was because she mistakenly thought it was a loser.
There was a family pow-wow the next morning, which included Abhi's grandparents in their native India.
"My grandmother said, 'Let's not keep the ticket. It's not right. Just give it back to them. If it's in your luck, you'll get it anyhow.'"
So Abhi tracked down the somewhat disbelieving Fiega and delivered the stunning news.
"She freaked out like crazy, she cried," Abhi said.
Other customers are not surprised the Shahs did the right thing.
"They're just purely good people," one customer said. "You can tell by just talking to them."
And now the family is fielding congratulatory calls and interview requests from across the country.
"If I had kept that million, I wouldn't have been this famous. So I'm glad I gave it back," Abhi said.
He could have bought a lot of things with that money, but it would have cost him his soul.
"Got to make big guy happy upstairs."
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