A retired North Carolina veteran who spend time overseas is celebrating a huge lottery win with his wife after getting inspiration from an unusual place: a fortune cookie.
Gabriel Fierro, of Cornelius, recently enjoyed a meal from the Red Bowl in Charlotte where he and his wife go about once a week. After checking out the fortune cookie that came with his food, he decided to use the numbers on the fortune to try his luck in the lottery.
"I don't usually play my fortune cookie numbers but I tried them on a whim," he said.
The fortune really did turn out to be lucky, as he found out when he purchased a Mega Millions ticket. His numbers matched all five white balls draw during Tuesday's (January 18) drawing, earning him the $1 million prize. However, the luck didn't stop there. A 4X Megaplier quadrupled the prize to a jaw-dropping $4 million, making Fierro's win the largest in North Carolina Online Play history, according to a release from NC Education Lottery.
"I got an email in the morning and I just stared at it dumbfounded. I took it and showed it to my wife and she thought it was an April Fool's joke or maybe a scam," he recalled. When the reality of the win set in, they couldn't believe their luck. "We started running around the house screaming like a bunch of banshees."
Fierro claimed his prize at lottery headquarters on Thursday (January 20), taking home an astounding $2,840,401 after taxes. While he told lottery officials that he wants to invest most of the winnings, he did say that he and his wife plan to buy some champagne on their way home to keep their celebration going.