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/ Source: TODAY contributor
By By John Springer

Kristina Schneider, a Ohio gas station employee, tried to convince a customer to buy one more lottery ticket, but had no luck — or so she thought.

Not selling that ticket paid off in a big way Friday, when the single mother bought the scratch-off and won a $1 million prize.

“I didn't believe it. I was waiting for ‘Candid Camera’ or ‘Punk'd’ camera to come out,” Schneider, 32, said Tuesday on TODAY. “I was like, ‘Someone's playing a trick on me. There's no way possible this is what it is’ ... I'm like, ‘This says $1 million. No way.’ ”

Way. Schneider had won the top prize in the Ohio State Lottery's Magnificent Millions game.

For Schneider, the planets must have been in perfect alignment. Not only did she buy the last unclaimed ticket on the roll, Schneider made the purchase with a $10 bill she found on the ground the day before.

“I thought twice about buying it. I had remembered the $10 I found the day before,” she said. “I said [to myself], ‘You know, that's a lot of money for a ticket, but I'm not losing anything because I found this $10.’ I bought it and scratched it.

Schneider, who is raising a 9-year-old daughter alone, can really use the money. But unlike many big lottery winners, she opted not to take a smaller amount in one lump payment.

She decided to have the state spread the payments out over 20 years, which works out to an additional income of about $34,500 annually after taxes.

“I thought that would keep me a little more under control,” Schneider said.

Customer learns valuable lesson

There's been no word from the customer who bought the three previous lottery tickets on the same roll, but did not have enough left to buy the big winner. Schneider tried her hardest to sell it to him, too.

“I was joking with him, trying to up sell,” Schneider recalled. “ ‘You know, you can't leave the last ticket on the roll. That's the big winner ... I have to buy it if you leave it here.’ He said, ‘That's the big winner. Go ahead.’ ”

And it was.