By Alicia Nieves
SAINT CLAIR, Pa. (CNN) — Doing the right thing can pay off in more ways that you can imagine. One man in Schuylkill County says he is living proof of that.
That man and his wife found a winning lottery ticket in Saint Clair and returned it to its rightful owner. Then, in a way, the man hit the jackpot.
After the couple found the winning ticket in April, they went through a long process to track the rightful owner down and return it.
But since returning it, they have been quite the lucky couple. The husband got a long-awaited lung transplant and the state lottery commission just called them with some exciting news.
The Schuylkill County couple found a $500 winning lottery ticket outside the Saint Clair borough building.
“There was just a ticket laying there on the sidewalk, and I just decided to pick it up because he loves the lottery,” said Rosaline Cappel.
Rosaline Cappel brought the ticket home and showed her husband Mel, who realized it was a winner.
You would think for a man who has been playing the lottery for decades and has never won, it would be tempting to cash the ticket it for himself.
But instead, the couple decided to track down the owner. Mel stopped into almost a dozen store and gas stations.
“I went to three here in town and a couple in Frackville,” he explained.
He eventually realized the ticket came from the Saint Clair Emporium when the owner just happened to mention a man winning the Pick Three and losing his ticket.
“I said, ‘was the number 108?’ He said, ‘yes, it was.’ I said, ‘you might want to give me his name because I think I found his ticket.'”
“I just didn’t expect somebody to come and tell me he found the ticket. I was happy for the guy,” said John Zurdy, Saint Clair Emporium.
“I hit the lottery exactly three months from the day my wife found the ticket. July Fourth. I got a call at 2 o’clock in the morning, and I got a lung transplant,” Mel went on to say.
Not only did Mel Cappel have a long-awaited lung transplant after returning the winning lottery ticket.
His transplant surgery went well and his story made it back to people with the Pennsylvania Lottery who want Mel and Rosaline to be witnesses for one of their drawings this month.
“I was happy, actually. He always wanted to do that,” said Rosaline.
The owner of the winning lottery ticket gave the couple $100, from the $500 he won.
And the couple will be witnesses for the lottery drawing on October 25 and 26.
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