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Hesitant lottery winners have claimed their cool $1 million

by Jorge Hernandez on February 16, 2011

On Tuesday, February 15 at 4:50 p.m. EST, the WBTV news stations of Stallings, North Carolina posted a last chance alert for residents to check their lottery numbers.

"Check your ticket: $1 million lottery winner missing," said the WBTV headline.

The unclaimed winning ticket was sold at the Market Express in Stallings last August, matched five out of six winning numbers, and was about to expire in one day, according to the news source.

If no one claimed the prize by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 16, the winning ticket would be worth nothing.

On Wednesday morning at 9:07 a.m., the Associated Press revealed that Raleigh Hill, who works as a baggage handler, and his wife, Erin Hill, a government worker, have finally come forward and claimed the prize.

It was not that the couple didn't know that they were lottery winners.

"It wasn't about the money," said Raleigh, according to the United Press International. "It was the attention — the hoopla. …You cannot describe it. I was overwhelmed. Nervous."

The husband had bought the ticket for $2 and found out two weeks after his purchase that he was holding onto $1 million.

The couple received $680,000 total after tax and shared the money 50-50.

Academic research on psychology and happiness have shown that winning the lottery may or may not bring lasting happiness for the winners, according to CNN. A 1978 study showed that years after winning the lottery, there was no difference in the happiness of lottery winners compared to others. A 2010 study showed that “life satisfaction” increases up to about the $75,000 per year household income level, after which “life satisfaction” seems to plateau. 

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