Man recovering from cardiac surgery wins $1M with scratch-off

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Sometimes it pays to have a friend with a kind heart.

A Massachusetts man recuperating from cardiac surgery won a $1 million prize on a gifted instant ticket that contained the word “heart,” lottery officials said.

Alexander McLeish, who had double-bypass heart surgery earlier this month, got a get-well card from a lifelong friend as he recovered with three $5,000,000 100X Cashword instant tickets inside.

The crossword-style game calls for players to use their letters to build words — with 11 leading to a $1,000,000 prize.

McLeish, of Attleborough, first scratched off his initials – A, W and M – before revealing the rest of his fateful ticket.

“As if that wasn’t enough of a positive omen, the word that appeared on the bottom row of his winning puzzle was ‘HEART,’” according to the Massachusetts State Lottery.

McLeish claimed his big win Friday and selected the cash option, meaning he’ll take home a one-time windfall of $650,000 before taxes.

Alexander McLeish of Attleborough won $1 million prize in the Massachusetts State Lottery.
The lottery ticket contained the word “heart.”
Massachusetts State Lottery

The same thoughtful friend, meanwhile, had given him a lottery ticket several years earlier that won $1,000, lottery officials said.

“We double-checked it, triple-checked and quadruple-checked it because you want to make sure it’s real before you mention it to anybody,” McLeish told the Boston Herald. “It was a little bit of disbelief at first but then it settled in and it was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe this happened.’”

McLeish said he thought the ticket was “haunted” as soon as he revealed his initials as his first set of letters, prompting him to text his friend Larry and his brother. He kept scratching away on Thanksgiving and ultimately uncovered 11 winning words, including “HEART.”

McLeish, who works for Coca-Cola in Needham, said he plans to give some of his winnings to Larry and his sons – and intends to splurge even more during a previously booked Caribbean vacation.

“It’ll just be a little bit more enhanced trip to the Bahamas,” McLeish told the Herald.

McLeish said he yelled to his wife after confirming the wild win – but she wasn’t convinced at first.

“She goes, ‘Did you win anything?’” McLeish recalled. “I go, ‘Yeah, a million bucks.’ She’s like, ‘No really, what you win?’

“A million bucks,” McLeish recalled with a chuckle.

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