‘On a whim’: Mecklenburg County Army veteran wins $4 million lottery prize with fortune cookie numbers

CORNELIUS, NC (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 in the U.S. military, got the cookie from the Red Bowl restaurant in Charlotte where he and his woman 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 price quadrupled to $4 million when they hit the 4X Megaplier.

“I got an email in the morning and just stared at him 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 he had 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 withholding taxes.

The retired veteran said he plans to invest most of his earnings, but plans to spend some champagne on the way home from lottery headquarters in Raleigh.

North Carolina has the chance to win $376 million in Friday’s draw.

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