(NBC) - If you've ever lost something, you know that gnawing in your brain. Now imagine somewhere out there, you've just lost 500,000 somethings.
"It was like a dream, a dream come true," says Sandra Tolentino.
Seventy year-old Louis Tolentino pulled over at a liquor store last week and bought a Gold Rush scratch off game. A few swipes with a coin and suddenly Louis had a big reason to smile.
"I could have paid a lot of bills. A lot of bills," says Louis.
The owner of the liquor store, Uday Waghary, says he ran the ticket through and it was indeed a winner. "You saw the ticket?" he was asked.
"Yes. It said 500-thousand, five zero zero zero zero zero zero," said Waghary.
Louis then raced off, bound for the lottery office to cash his golden ticket, but he got lost on the way and stopped to ask for directions at a gas station.
Louis says he put the ticket in his back pocket and that's the last time he saw it.
"He feels this man, standing behind him, went in and it was a pickpocket," says Sandra.
There's nothing anyone can do about it though. Louis ran off in such a hurry, he didn't sign the back of the ticket. Lottery policy stipulates that payment is to whomever holds the winning card.
So unless a Good Samaritan steps forward, gone are those very brief dreams of paying the bills and living the high life.
And what could have been has turned into what will never be.
"Three weeks from now you look back on this, what are you going to say?" he's asked.