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Fortune Cookie Provides Lucky Diner a $500,000 Powerball Payday

By Mike Pomranz | FoodAndWine.Com

Troy Warren for Hometown Hall #foodie-all

 

At their best, fortune cookie fortunes are more funny than accurate. But flip that strip of paper over and you may find something of value. A few years ago, research determined that fortune cookie lottery numbers actually matched real jackpots more often than randomly selected numbers. And at the very least, do you really think any numbers you pick are better than those from a cookie? (Newsflash: It’s all random, so—statistically speaking—you are equal to a cookie!)

So if the 2019 story of a man winning $233 million with fortune cookie lottery numbers wasn’t enough evidence that you might as well just use your fortune cookie numbers, here’s another reminder: North Carolina lottery officials announced that their latest $500,000 Powerball winner got his numbers from… yup… a fortune cookie.

Though not an exact match, the cookie provided four of the multistate lottery’s white ball numbers—which, when coupled with a “Power Play” upgrade that resulted in a ten-times multiplier—was enough to equal a half-million-dollar payout.

“This was a good investment,” Ernesto Sorzano, the lucky winner, was quoted as saying. Whether he was talking about the $3 he spent on his ticket or the cost of the fried rice and shrimp he purchased from a Chinese takeout restaurant that provided him with his winning numbers wasn’t clear. But the total cost of both pales in comparison with his payday which was $353,751 after taxes. Sorzano said he planned to use the money to buy a house in his new hometown of Huntersville, North Carolina.

“I’m just super happy that my dreams came true,” Sorzano was also quoted as saying. Again, whether he was talking about the $350,000 or the enjoyment he felt from chowing down on that delicious fried rice wasn’t entirely clear. They both sound awesome.

And as an interesting aside, lottery officials said that Sorzano was actually one of three people in the state who matched four white balls during the same February 20 Powerball drawing. What those other two people ate for dinner was not disclosed.