Can you imagine winning the lottery right before Christmas? The financial security would make it the best celebration of all, and you could start to plan out your future. We all think about what we'd do if we hit he jackpot, but few of us will ever experience that rush.
For some extremely unlucky people in South Carolina, they both won and lost the lottery within minutes, and they're not happy about it.
Nicole Coggins told local news what ran through her mind when she learned she and her mother-in-law won almost $18,000.
"I had been promising [my kids] for years [to take them to Disney World] and I thought I would finally get to, and now I can't," Coggins said. "I don't play the lottery that much. Every once in a while, I'll buy a Powerball ticket, but something told me to buy a lottery ticket. I was having a good day and I wanted to try it."
Coggins won $500 on her first ticket, so she bought another one to test her luck.
"And it was another winner and another winner," Coggins recalled. "So I thought, 'Well, maybe there is something wrong with their machine. This can't be real.'"
The mom said her tickets were scanned, she was informed she won, but then almost immediately the cashier said she couldn't cash in, because the transaction wasn't valid.
Coggins isn't the only one who was told this, either. So what went wrong?
According to lottery officials, there was a "programming error" which lasted for more than two hours, which caused an overabundance of winning "Holiday Cash Add-A-Play" tickets, which are only available on Christmas day.
"From 5:51 p.m. to 7:53 p.m., the same play symbol was repeated in all nine available play areas on tickets which would result in a top prize of $500. No more than five identical play symbols should appear for a single play," the lottery said. "As soon as the issue was identified, the Add-A-Play game was suspended immediately to conduct a thorough investigation."
Officals are "are [advising people] to hold on to their ticket(s) until the review is completed. A further announcement will be made at the end of this week."
But that doesn't help Coggins now, who spent $100 on tickets she thought were winners, and is now left with nothing.
"We didn't do anything wrong. The stores didn't do anything wrong. It's (the SCEL's) fault. I think they should either honor the tickets or give us our money back," Coggins told WYFF.
Lottery officials would not indicate how many winning tickets were sold during the time when the program glitched, but one store manager says "it was crazy" when word got out that all the tickets being sold were winners. The "frenzy" lasted about an hour before machines stopped issuing tickets.