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Lucky lottery winner in Vermont - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Lucky lottery winner in Vermont

Georgia, Vermont - December 23, 2010

Nothing short of a Christmas miracle-- winning $1.7 million.

"I, of course, jumped for joy because I thought somebody locally was going to have a pretty good Christmas," said Ray Bouffard, the owner of the Georgia Market.

Bouffard found out Thursday that his store had sold a $2 MegaBucks Plus ticket that was the big winner. He immediately made up signs and got the word out to everyone.

"We alerted all of our customers right off the bat to go home and check their tickets because it was likely we had a winner here right in the community," Bouffard said.

"I thought it may be my husband but he had called and said nope, it wasn't him," customer Tammy Turchin said.

Because Bouffard sold the ticket at his store he would also receive a cut of the prize. But then, just a short time later, he got another call saying it was a mistake-- it was another store that had sold the winning ticket in St. Johnsbury. And the mistake was operator error.

"In this particular case the agent transposed the agent number that went along with the winning ticket, so when that number was transposed, the store number came up, it was for a different store obviously," said Alan Yandow of the Vt. Lottery Commissioner.

The lottery rep also told them this is the first time in 27 years this big of a mistake has been made.

Even though Georgia Market thought they had the winning ticket for only a few hours, it was just long enough to get all their customers excited.

"I thought, great, it was somebody from Georgia we know, yay! And then I just came in and they told me it wasn't from the area," Turchin said.

"Disappointing not so much for us but for the community who had a hope they were going to be a big winner. We're in a very trying economic time where people more than ever are looking for the one last thing for something that's going to turn the corner for them," Bouffard said.

"It bothers us," Yandow said. "It's a situation that should not have happened. System opp that works for our vendor should not have transposed that number."

But even though someone from their store didn't win it hasn't brought down Bouffard's spirits.

"The holidays-- this is what it's all about-- having fun. Unfortunately we didn't make anybody locally a millionaire that we know of, but this doesn't bring the holiday down by any means," Bouffard said.

An exciting morning for many.

The winning ticket was purchased at Center Tower in St. Johnsbury.

Gina Bullard - WCAX News

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