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Fortune cookie numbers win Mecklenburg County man $4 million

January 21, 2022 Posted by NC Lottery at 8:49 AM
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Gabriel Fierro of Cornelius took the numbers from his fortune cookie and used them in Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing, turning a $3 ticket into a $4 million prize.

Fierro, a retired master sergeant who spent 32 years with the Army, said the fortune cookie came from the Red Bowl restaurant in Charlotte where he eats about once a week with his wife.

“I don’t usually play my fortune cookie numbers but I tried them on a whim,” Fierro said.

Fierro bought his lucky Mega Millions ticket using Online Play and added $1 to make it a Megaplier ticket to multiply any win. He matched all five white balls to win $1 million, and then the prize quadrupled to $4 million when the 4X Megaplier hit. His $4 million prize became the largest win in the history of Online Play in North Carolina.

“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.”

After the win sunk in, the celebration began. “We started running around the house,” Fierro said, “screaming like a bunch of banshees.”

Fierro, 60, retired as a disabled combat veteran after spending time in Iraq. He arrived at lottery headquarters on Thursday to collect his prize and, after federal and state tax withholdings, took home $2,840,401. He said he planned to invest most of his winnings but he did have one small purchase in mind.

“We are going to buy some champagne on the way home,” Fierro laughed.

North Carolinians have a chance in Friday’s Mega Millions drawing to win $376 million. A winner in North Carolina could take home the jackpot as an annuity paying out the $376 million over 29 years or choose instead to take home $256.4 million in cash.


41 COMMENTS

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1/26/2022 08:11 - Darlene E.

Congrats to the Fortune Cookie win. Try it again. Enjoy your winnings..

1/25/2022 09:53 - Ebonie J.

Congrats Vet. What a Blessing!

1/24/2022 08:20 - Cindy C.

Congrats and have fun spending it??

1/24/2022 07:35 - mark h.

Congratulations from one Army Vet to Another! Infantry

1/24/2022 10:05 - Gregg J.

Happy Happy Happy

1/24/2022 03:37 - Eddie D.

Congratulations! I’m happy for you brother. I play everyday.

1/23/2022 06:48 - Raymond G.

You are lucky man. Thank you for your service you deserve it.

1/23/2022 02:53 - Natalie R.

Congratulations!

1/23/2022 08:39 - Tabitha B.

Congratulations??

1/23/2022 08:26 - Decolia C.

Congratulations! Spend and invest wisely!

1/23/2022 07:20 - April R.

Congratulations. Thank you for your service.

1/23/2022 12:30 - kenny h.

Hey NCEL. I HAVE TO AGREE WITH WILLIAM D. 1000%. IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE A HEADS UP ON THINGS. FOR EXAMPLE. YOU REORDER TICKETS ON GAMES BUT SNEAK IT IN. YOU NEVER GIVE A HEADS UP ON THAT AND NOT EVERYONE CHECKS ONLINE FOR THAT. YOU CLAIM YOU’RE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR WAYS TO IMPROVE PLAYERS EXPERIENCES.YOUR WORDS. IF TRUE START WITH WHAT I MENTIONED AND POST IT WHEN TICKETS ARE REORDERED ONLINE AND AT EVERY RETAILER. ONE MORE SUGGESTION WOULD BE PULL GAMES IMMEDIATELY AFTER ALL TOP PRIZES ARE WON. SHOULDN’T BE THAT HARD OR LENGTHY TIME WISE.WHEN THEY ARE STILL BEING SOLD ITS PURE DECEPTION.

1/22/2022 09:54 - Kelli P.

Here's my monthly comment about passing along a vote for online Pick 3&4 play! Thank you!

1/22/2022 06:25 - monica e.

Congratulations ?? Will pic 4 or 3 be available online soon? When will cash 5 double play be available online? When will I win the lottery? More than $100 win I need one of the jack pots or second chance. I’m getting older I would love to retire happy

1/22/2022 03:24 - Jennie S.

Congrads! So will we ever able to buy a pick 3 online?NC Lottery
Hi, Jennie! We would love to be able to offer this for our players in the future, and we have passed this request along to the folks that make those decisions. We are always looking for ways to improve our players' experiences, and we hope to offer more games through Online Play in the future!

1/22/2022 12:41 - Debra A.

Congratulation.....I am still waiting on my big day before i get to old to buy my mom and i a home so i can take care of her.

1/22/2022 12:11 - William D.

Oh well, we have till mar 11, thats the bad news. we still have over a month before they stop these tickets. sad to see csh explo go and at the same note the $5 cheers for Xmas. Explains why i can not find the cheers anywhere. Would be nice for a Heads Up on whats is happening...NC Lottery
We totally hear you, William! We publish blog posts every now and then about games that are ending to keep our players informed. You can also check out game end dates on our site here https://nclottery.com/ScratchOffEnding. Hope this helps!

1/22/2022 11:16 - Sheryl A.

Fantastic! Congrats!!!

1/22/2022 09:57 - David C.

Congratulations and thank you for your service!

1/22/2022 09:04 - linda p.

Congrats may you both enjoy your winnings. Live your life to the fullest always be safe and Bless.

1/22/2022 08:15 - Karen W.

Congrats to you and also a big thank you for your many years of service. Hope the champagne was good!

1/22/2022 08:01 - Vaneet S.

$20 - 150 cash mil explosion this ticket still has a top prize remaining. It is also very popular among players. Why is it being withdrawn? The odds are in favor of the players now. It is shady practice to stop selling tickets when odds have swung in players favor. Winning big lottery in NCEL is just a joke.NC Lottery
Hi Vaneet! In a perfect world, we would release a new game and players would enjoy playing it and all of the prizes would be won before we end the game. However, sometimes games are no longer popular with our players or retailers simply aren't ordering them anymore, so it makes more sense to end a game and replace it with one that has more prizes available to be won. Please know that if a game is ended with a top prize remaining, half of that unclaimed prize money goes back into games in the form of prizes, and the other half goes to the NC education fund!

1/22/2022 05:15 - Daniel J.

Always happy to see a fellow veteran win!

1/22/2022 12:29 - Katrina C.

Congratulations buddy ??

1/21/2022 10:47 - Paula B.

wow CONGRATULATIONS!!!

1/21/2022 10:31 - Jacqueline G.

Happy New Year!!! God bless.

1/21/2022 09:04 - Stephanie R.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

1/21/2022 09:03 - Sherika W.

CONGRATULATIONS ON THE WIN! YOU DESERVE IT!

1/21/2022 08:14 - veverly j.

Congratulations, God blessed you

1/21/2022 07:28 - Rumor Y.

Congratulations to you sir and thank you for your service! Enjoy life!

1/21/2022 06:40 - Sabrina D S.

Congrats!!

1/21/2022 06:26 - Angelique W.

Congratulations to him! Thank you for your 32 years of service to this country. We appreciate you!

1/21/2022 04:03 - Gloria C.

Congratulations to you and I wish you many more wonderful wins .

1/21/2022 03:58 - Kevon S.

Wow congratulations

1/21/2022 02:20 - Sylvia T.

congratulation to you

1/21/2022 01:32 - Michael B.

Hey NCEL. You can buy lottery tickets with your credit card now ? I seen a person buy pick 3 tickets at Harris Teeter this morning with credit card. Will this work on the lottery machines as well ?NC Lottery
Hi there, Michael! Lottery tickets may only be purchased using a debit card or cash, as we don't want players to spend money they don't already have in their account on tickets. Credit cards would not work at a terminal for purchasing tickets. Hope this helps to clarify!

1/21/2022 01:14 - levon j.

Congratulations

1/21/2022 01:00 - Rudolph P.

Congratulations.

1/21/2022 12:08 - Mary W.

CONGRATULATIONS !!! and.....Thank You so very much for your service to our country!

1/21/2022 11:50 - Tony M.

Wow I want that too

1/21/2022 10:18 - crystal b.

Congratulations! I'm the next big winner!??

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