Man Gifts Cousin A Winning Lottery Ticket — But His Wife Wants Him To Take It Back

Would you want the ticket back?

Last updated on Nov 17, 2023

husband and wife arguing behind person holding lottery ticket Ryan Brooklyn via Unsplash / LightField Studios via Shutterstock

A man posted to the ‘AITA’ subreddit asking for advice and opinions after “giving” his cousin $50,000 against his wife’s wishes.

The man traditionally gifts scratch-off lottery tickets to his extended family for Christmas.

“The custom for this event is that we exchange 'stocking stuffers' – nothing over $10. Ever since we've had this gathering, I've always bought scratch off lottery tickets for all the adults,” the man explained in the Reddit post.


Usually, there is never a big win from the lottery tickets as the man buys them for his family every year, but there have been a few exceptions with some people winning a couple of dollars.

“One year my uncle's ticket hit for $50 and everyone went crazy," he wrote, adding that despite no one ever hitting it big, "It's always a good time.”

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However, this Christmas was very different after the man’s cousin won the $50,000 jackpot.

“He holds his ticket up and claims that it just hit for the max jackpot - $50,000. Everyone rushes over, a couple of my uncles verify - yep this kid just won $50k,” the man wrote, "elated" for his cousin. "He was screaming and his mom was actually in tears and [the] whole room was excited. It was literally one of the top ten experiences of my life.”


It didn't take long for the good mood to end, however, as the man got a text message from his wife telling him to “come to the car.” When the man goes outside, he can tell from his wife’s body language that she is angry.

His wife demanded he take the lottery ticket back.

“She told me there is no way that we are giving my cousin $50k, then starts fussing at me about buying the lotto tickets to begin with,” the man recalled.

The man starts to explain in his post that he is in his mid-forties and has a career spanning two decades while his wife is a stay-at-home mom by choice. While he acknowledges that $50,000 is a lot of money, he points out that they aren't struggling financially, with most debts paid off except their mortgage. 

“My cousin, on the other hand. Just graduated from college. His mom is single and was one of those fiercely independent women who refused charity. She took on extra jobs to help him pay for school,” the man continued, adding that his cousin worked at least two jobs while going to school full-time, even managing to make the dean’s list. The man’s cousin also has student loans, and despite landing a job, doesn’t have a car or money to afford to live closer to his place of employment, giving him a two-hour commute to work.


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“He's also saving for an engagement ring for his sweet girlfriend of 3 years. This money would literally change this kid's life and frankly I think it couldn't have gone to a better member of my family," he wrote.

The man explained to his wife that they weren’t giving his cousin $50,000, but they just gifted him a $5 lottery ticket — but his wife was still not happy.

“She is now demanding I go back in there and take the ticket back from him, saying maybe we'll give him some of it, he said, adding that they fought all the way home and his wife hasn’t spoken more than a couple of words to him since.


Experts advise against gifting lottery tickets for this exact reason.

Many people on Reddit were in agreement that the man was not in the wrong.

"Like you said, you gave him a $5 ticket as a gift," one person wrote. "You don't take gifts back when you realize they are worth more than you thought.”

Despite being a fun gift, experts note that people aren't legally obligated to share their winnings with whoever gifted the ticket. And if you do expect something back from potential winnings, what's the point of gifting it in the first place?


"Gifts are given without expecting anything in return," Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick of the Etiquette School of New York told Consumer Reports. "Of course the gift could be given with conditions, but what kind of gift would that be?"

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.