CORNELIUS, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – An Army veteran in Cornelius said he took numbers from his fortune cookie and used them to win a $4 million prize in Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing.
North Carolina Lottery officials said Gabriel Fierro, a 60-year-old retired master sergeant who spent 32 years with the U.S. Army, got the cookie from the Red Bowl restaurant in Charlotte where he and his wife eat about once a week.
“I don’t usually play my fortune cookie numbers but I tried them on a whim,” Fierro said.
Lottery officials said Fierro used the Online Play option to buy a $3 Megaplier ticket and matched all five white balls to win $1 million. The prize was quadrupled to $4 million when they hit the 4X Megaplier.
“I got an email in the morning and I just stared at it dumbfounded,” Fierro said. “I took it and showed it to my wife and she thought it was an April Fool’s joke or maybe a scam.”
When they learned that he won, Fierro said he and his wife danced around the house “screaming like a bunch of banshees.”
The winner took home $2,840,401 after taxes were withheld.
The retired veteran said he planned to invest most of his winnings, but planned to spend a little on champagne on the way home from lottery headquarters in Raleigh.
North Carolinians have the chance to win $376 million in Friday’s drawing.