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Tennessee man loses $1 million lottery ticket — but finds it again in parking lot

"It's a million-dollar ticket, and someone stepped right over it," Nick Slatten said of his winning ticket that briefly went missing.

A Tennessee man recently won over $1 million in the Tennessee Lottery but almost lost out on the cash prize when he briefly lost the lottery ticket.

The man, Nick Slatten of Sparta, about 80 miles north of Chattanooga, bought the ticket and a drink at a grocery store after a day of laying tile on March 10. The following morning, Slatten said, he checked the results and discovered that the ticket was worth more than $1 million.

"I was stunned. I couldn't believe it," Slatten said in a statement. "I can't express it. It was something else."

Slatten said he then rushed to his fiancée Michelle's workplace and told her about the winnings. Slatten said that after he shared the news, he continued to run errands, including taking his brother to go shopping at an auto parts store.

IMAGE: Nick Slatten won the lottery March 11 in Sparta, Tenn.
Nick Slatten won the lottery March 11 in Sparta, Tenn.Tennessee Education Lottery

However, Slatten said, about an hour later, he realized that he had lost the ticket, explaining that he "couldn't find it anywhere."

Tennessee Lottery officials said they encourage players to sign a ticket when they buy it "to help prevent someone else from cashing it, in the event that it is lost or stolen."

Slatten said he retraced his steps and found the ticket on the ground in the parking lot of the auto parts store, near the driver's side door of another vehicle.

"It's a million-dollar ticket, and someone stepped right over it," he said.

Slatten's ticket is one of five worth $1 million or more to have been sold in Tennessee this month, Tennessee Lottery officials said.

Slatten said that he and his fiancée will continue to work but that they plan to buy a new house and a car and to invest. He said he hopes to live a life with "not a whole lot of worries."