On Sunday morning, Jim Sprague woke up, opened his copy of the Pueblo Chieftain and learned that he and Dorothy, his wife of many years, had just won the Colorado lottery, which was worth $4.3 million.
An hour later, he found out he was wrong -- because the newspaper had misprinted the winning numbers.
Sprague told KOAA-TV that he called a son and daughter with the great news and was about to inform the rest of his kids that he and their mom were in the money when they discovered the truth -- they weren't millionaires after all.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
At that point, he tried phoning the newspaper, but only reached a recording, not a human being. The message got through, though. The next morning, the Chieftain's "For the Record" section confirmed that the wrong digits had been published due to "misinformation and an oversight."
A huge oversight from Sprague's perspective -- and at this writing, the Chieftain has yet to write about the emotional roller coaster the Spragues rode as a result of the screw-up.
As for Jim, he's able to joke about going from "rags to riches to rags again." Too bad his lucky day was corrected.
More from our Media archive: "Denver Post doesn't get Elway the dog's tombstone quite right."