Veteran uses fortune cookie numbers to win $4 million in North Carolina lottery

Gabriel Fierro turned $3 into $4 million with his lucky numbers

A Mega Millions lottery contestant uses his fortune cookie's lucky numbers to mark his entry for Friday's $500-million game at a corner newsstand in New York, Thursday, March 29, 2012. Forget setting up a charity or establishing a trust, the winner of the $500 million Mega Millions jackpot could save teachers' jobs or help pay for Medicaid-funded doctor appointments in their home state just by paying taxes. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) (Richard Drew, AP Photo/Richard Drew)

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. – I don’t know about you, but when I open up a fortune cookie, I throw the tiny piece of paper away after reading it. Thankfully, one North Carolina man chose to use his fortune cookie to win his own fortune.

Gabriel Fierro, a retired master sergeant who spent 32 years with the Army, bought a $3 Mega Millions lottery ticket and turned it into a $4 million prize, according to the North Carolina Lottery.

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As they do usually do every week, Fierro and his wife dined at a Chinese restaurant called the Red Bowl in Charlotte, where he nabbed the prize-winning fortune cookie.

“I don’t usually play my fortune cookie numbers but I tried them on a whim,” Fierro told the North Carolina Lottery.

He used the lucky numbers included in the fortune and bought his ticket online. The veteran was able to match all five white balls to win $1 million, but then the prize quadrupled to $4 million since he bought the Megaplier addition.

“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.”

Once the reality of their situation hit, Fierro said he and his wife started running excitedly around the house.

He collected his prize money on Thursday and took home $2,840,401 after federal and state tax withholdings.

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