Who hasn’t announced something in a tense situation — to millions of people — only for it to be completely wrong?
That was the case Thursday morning when Massachusetts lottery officials announced the wrong store had sold a winning Powerball ticket worth $758.7 million.
The snafu joins a list of historic flubs in which the wrong winner might’ve been announced.
Mistakes that make one wince in regret don’t discriminate, either.
They’ve impacted the Oscars, the Miss Universe Pageant and even a presidential election.
Massachusetts lottery officials initially announced Wednesday night that the highly anticipated jackpot ticket was sold at the Handy Variety in Watertown.
But the $758.7 million ticket — which set the record for a single person to win — was actually sold some 80 miles west in Chicopee, Mass., officials said Thursday morning.
“I think we had a couple of excited people in a computer room at one in the morning being a little nervous about handling a $700 million winner,” Massachusetts Lottery Director Michael Sweeney told the WBZ-AM radio station Thursday morning.
Local reporters flocked to Handy Variety on Thursday morning before it was revealed it’d only sold a $1 million ticket.
Workers in the store told a WBZ reporter they were “still happy” and the much smaller ticket was “still something.”
Best Picture Oscar
“La La Land” won six Oscars at the 2017 Academy Awards, and for a couple of minutes it was even the year’s Best Picture.
The gaffe of epic proportions began when Best Picture presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were handed the envelope that named “La La Land” star Emma Stone as Best Actress.
The film’s crew spent two minutes delivering speeches before producer Jordan Horowitz held up a card showing his film had lost and “Moonlight” had won.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm responsible for overseeing the winners, took responsibility for handing Beatty and Dunaway the wrong envelope.
Accountants Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz were spotted using social media backstage as the fiasco unfolded — a violation of the firm’s policy — and were removed from working future Academy Awards.
This wasn’t the first Oscar-related mistake. Sammy Davis, Jr. mistakenly named a composer who wasn’t even nominated as the Best Music Score winner in 1964.
Miss Universe 2015
The Oscars flub resurrected a mistake of universal proportions from more than a year earlier.
Miss Universe host Steve Harvey named Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, as the pageant’s 2015 winner.
Her star came crashing down, however, when a guilt-ridden Harvey said on stage he accidentally read her name as the winner instead of runner up.
The year’s previous winner then did what is every beauty queen’s worst nightmare: she pulled the crown off Gutierrez’s head and placed it on the actual winner, Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach.
The December 2015 snafu had ripple effects for Harvey, who said he got numerous threats for misreading the card. As of March 2017 the “Family Feud” host told interviewers he still had armed guards in wake of the error.
Dewey Defeats Truman
Moral of the story: don’t trust the polls.
That’s true not just for the 2016 Presidential election, but the 1948 one, too.
Then-New York Gov. Thomas Dewey, the Republican nominee, was ahead of incumbent Harry Truman and seemed likely to oust the Democrat.
So sure was the Chicago Tribune — then branded the “Chicago Daily Tribune” — that it printed some 150,000 copies of its first edition with the banner headline: “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.”
That wasn’t the case, however, and Truman won 28 states compared with Dewey’s 16 (Sen. Strom Thurmond took four southern states on a third-party ticket).
The Tribune blamed pollsters and miscommunications for what would become one of its most iconic headlines.
Truman, a Missouri native who reportedly feuded with the paper, got his hands on a first edition during a train trip back to Washington two days later.
The 33rd President held up the copy with a victorious grin — one of the most memorable images in politics.