• A Florida Lottery winner was supposed to receive $1,000, but is now left with nothing.
  • The winning ticket was sent via certified mail but got caught up in the post office and has not yet been found.
  • The last tracking data for the envelope shows it arriving at the post office before disappearing.

2020 has been a very, very bad year for multiple reasons, and people are looking for the tiniest bits of light in their lives to cling on to while we all weather the storm. When Sue Burgess of Ridge Manor, Florida, won a cool $1,000 in a second-chance lottery drawing from the Florida Lotter, it seemed things were starting to look up, if ever so slightly.

Unfortunately, Burgess never got her winnings, and she claims it’s due to a bizarre post office mixup that resulted in her winning ticket never making it to the lottery headquarters. This is even more confusing due to the fact that Burgess sent it using a method that should have protected it against any such hiccups.

According to Burgess, her $1,000 winning lottery ticket was sent via the U.S. Postal Service using certified mail. Things get “lost in the mail” from time to time, but certified mail provides tracking for envelopes so their location can be traced every step of the way. Burgess ultimately chose to send her ticket in via the mail because she had no other option, as the coronavirus pandemic led to the closure of local lottery offices where she could have otherwise dropped it off.

According to local news reports, the letter shows that the envelope was received by the post office in the early morning hours of August 12th, but it effectively fell off the map after that point. No further tracking information was registered, and since the ticket was the only proof of her winnings, the Florida Lottery can’t just hand over $1,000 on good faith. When Burgess called the lottery office to ask about the ticket she was told “no ticket, no prize,” she says.

“That’s why you chose certified mail,” Burgess told WFLA. “With Covid, I understand the mail is a little bit slow. But for safety sake, certified mail usually has priority.”

It’s a serious bummer, but there may still be hope for Burgess, even though a secondary winner was chosen when her ticket failed to show up on time. According to the Florida Lottery, her winnings may still be honored if they receive the ticket, but only under certain circumstances.

“Ms. Burgess’ situation is an unusual circumstance and, to our knowledge, no other winner has experienced a similar issue,” the Florida Lottery said in a statement. “Because the Lottery did not receive Ms. Burgess’ ticket within the seven-day claim period, an alternate winner was selected and paid. However, if Ms. Burgess’ package arrives at Florida Lottery Headquarters with a date stamp prior to the original expiration date, our Claims Processing department will process and pay her claim.”

Let’s hope the post office can find the missing letter and get it delivered. We could all use a bit of good fortune these days, and to have it snatched away from you in such a way is a serious bummer.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech. Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.