The Free Press
MANKATO — A Mountain Lake man credits a baby grandson with a messy diaper for helping him find a $1 million dollar winning lottery ticket that had been tucked away in a coat pocket.
John Engstrom purchased the Powerball ticket last month in Mankato. He came forward Wednesday to claim his winnings at the Minnesota State Lottery office in Roseville.
Engstrom is a college professor who teaches at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. He told lottery officials it was a fluke that he even purchased the ticket.
He and his wife had been in Mankato Christmas shopping Dec. 18 when they stopped at Kwik Trip 344, 2549 E. Madison Ave.
While waiting in line to buy doughnuts, he noticed a Powerball jackpot sign and thought, “What the heck — I should buy a ticket.”
After purchasing the ticket, Engstrom put it in his coat pocket where it stayed for about a week.
“I didn’t think twice about it,” he said.
On Christmas Eve, Engstrom was washing a load of soiled baby clothing. While waiting for the unexpected task to be finished, Engstrom reached in a pocket of his coat and found the forgotten ticket.
He credits the discovery to his 11-month-old grandson.
“I told my son, ‘Your baby had a million-dollar mess!’ If it wasn’t for his messy diaper, I wouldn’t have checked the ticket. It was a miracle I didn’t lose the ticket.”
Engstrom’s single-line quick pick ticket matched the first five winning numbers drawn Dec. 18 to win the $1 million prize. The winning Powerball numbers were 14-18-26-39-68. (The Powerball number was 9, which he did not have.)
Kwik Trip 344 earned a $5,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
Engstrom is the fifth Minnesotan to claim $1 million or more so far this year.