Bits and Pieces: Spectacular Win for NY Printer

The winning lottery ticket meant happy days for the Kajfasz family, including the ability for Jerry Kajfasz to retire from his pressman job.
By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor

Call it the mistake of a lifetime. But this is one prize-winning fish that didn’t get away.

Lancaster, NY, resident Jerry Kajfasz—a press operator for International Imaging Materials in Amherst, NY—was enjoying a visit to Depew One Stop on Broadway Street in Depew, a convenience business Kajfasz calls his “day off store.” On this chilly Saturday, Kajfasz (pronounced KUY-fosh) treated himself to a small lot of scratchoff lottery cards. He had pulled some previous winning cards and rolled them into a mix of different tickets.

Tucked into the handful of scratchies the store clerk handed to Kajfasz, 53, was a “Win For Life Spectacular” scratchoff lottery card game. The only problem was, Kajfasz hadn’t asked for that one. Simple error; happens all the time. Clerk takes the card back and lays it aside to await its eventual owner.

Now back in his truck, Kajfasz scratched off seven winning tickets in succession. Armed with $25 in redeemable tickets (and with the orphaned “Win For Life Spectacular” card bouncing around in his mind) back inside he went to save the one “that almost got away.”

When Kajfasz re-emerged from the store, he was $10 million richer.

He scratched the “Win For Life Spectacular” while inside Depew One Stop and nailed a match on the number 10 in the middle of the ticket, with the word “Life” printed beneath. It took about a half-dozen verifications to make sure, but when $10 million is involved, belief tends to get suspended.

“I asked the clerk to verify it was a $10 million winner and he said, ‘Man, you just hit the big one,’ and shook my hand,” Kajfasz recalls.

Jackpot! Geronimo! And perhaps a yee-ha!

Kajfasz and his wife of 30 years, Anne, are sharing their good fortunes with their two grown children. They’ll get the $10 million during the next 20 years, plus additional checks equal to that amount on an annual basis for the duration of Kajfasz’s life.

What plans does he have with the money? Kajfasz had already promised to take his mother to visit family in her native Poland, and now the trip will be booked sooner rather than later. As for his son and daughter, their money troubles have gone away. And the “day off” store, Depew One Stop, is certain to become the “every day off store” for Kajfasz. He’ll probably find something to help pass the time.

Incidentally, no word on whether International Imaging Materials has filled the vacancy left by Kajfasz’s retirement. But it is nice to hear about good things happening to people on the shop floor. Best wishes for the future, Jerry! PI