Woman 'Steals' Lottery Ticket During Office's White Elephant Gift Exchange — Now She's $175,000 Richer

She really wanted the TJ Maxx Gift Card!

woman holding lottery tickets and large check Kentucky Lottery

‘Tis the season of the White Elephant Gift Exchange. You get a cheap gift, usually $25 or under, show up at the party, pick or steal gifts until everyone ends up with something they all could easily have done without.

It’s a fun holiday icebreaker and you walk away with memories and a fun or useful memento.

Lori James of Louisville, Kentucky, expected nothing more when she showed up to her job’s white elephant holiday party. But she ended up winning the prize of a lifetime.


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After 'stealing' a White Elephant gift, she ended up getting a winning lotto ticket.

Lori is the Office Manager at a dental practice and was excited about the chance to spend time with her colleagues outside of the office.

During the party, Lori participated in the gift exchange and was over the moon when she got a $25 TJ Maxx Gift Card. Unfortunately for her, another play had the option to pick an unselected gift or to take one that someone else had already picked up.

They opted to ‘steal’ the gift card from Lori.


Saddened by the loss what she thought was the best prize in the room, Lori now had to pick a replacement prize for herself. She chose to steal $25 worth of lottery scratch tickets with no real expectation of winning.

After the game was over and all gifts had been given, Lori’s coworkers, curious about what she would uncover crowded around. She said, “Once it got to me, it was done and mine to keep. That’s when everyone was telling me to scratch them off.”

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Lori scratched the first ticket and found that she had won $50.


As if doubling the money she spent on her gift wasn’t enough, the second ticket blew everyone’s minds when it revealed a jackpot of $175,000.

“Everyone was going insane. People were getting their calculators out and double-checking. A couple of people even scanned the ticket on the lottery’s app, just to make sure,” Lori told Fox News 59.

The women shrieked with glee at the revelation that their colleague had won the top prize.

Everyone was happy for Lori whom they all agreed deserved such a wonderful holiday blessing.

As for the woman who Lori stole the scratch tickets from, she is Dr. Kelsey Rupp, and she is overjoyed with Lori’s windfall, though she admits that the loss hurts and the money slipped right through her fingers.


After taxes, Lori and her loved ones received $124, 250. Not bad for a prize she never really wanted.

Lori’s daughter is attending the University of Kentucky and Lori plans to use the money toward her tuition.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.