87-year-old breaks hip on way to buy Mega Millions ticket, then wins after joining hospital pool

Posted at 9:07 PM, Oct 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 23:07:06-04

STRATFORD, N.J. – An 87-year-old man just lived his worst and best Tuesday ever.

Hoping to strike some luck, Earl Livingston, of Blackwood, New Jersey, headed to a nearby convenience store to buy a ticket for the $1.537 billion Mega Millions drawing.

But on his walk, he fell and broke his hip and was taken to Jefferson Stratford Hospital, CNN affiliateKYW reported.

That's where his physician and nurse invited him to join their office lottery pool.

"When the patient came in for care and he told them what had happened, they invited him to join as a way to make him feel less sick," the hospital's chief nurse, Marianne Kraemer, told CNN.

When the numbers were drawn that night, it turned out Livingston -- with a $2 buy-in -- and 141 hospital employees had won $1 million, with their ticket just one number off a perfect match. That works out to about $7,000 piece, if split evenly before taxes.

"We all got a text saying we got a million-dollar ticket," Kraemer said. "When we looked to see the names of who was in the pool, we saw his name on the list, so we told him right away."

Livingston and his family were thrilled to hear the news and grateful that the hospital's staff made him feel like a part of the team, Kraemer said. The family did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

As for the "Stratford Millionaires Club," its members are just happy to able to make a positive impact -- big or small -- in people's lives.

"As excited as we were and in the process of congratulating everyone, we never lost sight of what was important," Kraemer said, "which is to care for our patients, and make them feel important."