Changing his “regular” numbers, which he had used for years no matter which Lottery game he was playing, seems to have made all the difference for Ernest Elliott Jr. of Waldorf. His new numbers, which came to him by way of an accident, produced a $50,000 Pick 5 win, which was the biggest of his life.

“I told the guy behind the counter what I wanted to play, and he got it all backward somehow,” Ernest told Lottery officials. “I don’t think even one of my numbers was on the ticket.”

Pick 5 luck found Ernest Elliott Jr. of Waldorf last week. His “wrong” numbers delivered a $50,000 prize. Credit: Maryland Lottery

The clerk apologized and was about to throw away the error-filled ticket when Ernest stopped him. “I don’t know exactly why, but I bought that ticket and began using those numbers every time I played.”

The Charles County man, a supervisor at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, describes himself as a frequent player. “I buy one or two tickets near a store that sells them. I enjoy the suspense when I check the results later on my Lottery app.”

The winner was about to drive home when he checked the evening drawing results for Sunday, Sept. 18. “I couldn’t believe what I saw. I must have checked the ticket five times.” When a call home wasn’t enough to convince her of the $50,000 win, Ernest sent his wife a picture of the $1 one-draw ticket. “She went from doubting to yelling in a split second.”

The 57-year-old bought his lucky Pick 5 ticket from Angelos Liquors at 187 St. Patricks Drive in Waldorf. Management will receive a $500 bonus for selling the lucky $50,000 winning ticket. As for Ernest and his wife, they will use their new fortune to pay off a recently purchased vehicle.

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