Fortune Cookie Provides Winning Lottery Numbers for Virginia Woman

Posted on: May 28, 2024, 12:23h. 

Last updated on: May 28, 2024, 09:15h.

Many people crack open the fortune cookie that’s thrown in with their Chinese food takeout and munch on the crispy, sugary wafer, but for one lucky woman in Virginia, the accompanying propitious numbers printed on the piece of paper inside proved to be just that — lucky.

Virginia lottery fortune cookie
Virginia resident Tierra Barley celebrates with her $50K check from Powerball and the Virginia Lottery. Barley said she picked her numbers based on the lucky numbers she received in a fortune cookie. (Image: Virginia Lottery)

The Virginia Lottery reports that resident Tierra Barley chose six numbers for a Powerball ticket based on the numbers she received from a fortune cookie. Those fortunate numbers ended up winning her a $50K prize after she matched four of the five white balls and the red Powerball during the May 8 drawing.

The winning numbers that night were 7, 41, 43, 44, 51 and the Powerball 5. Barley’s fortune cookie message helped her overcome the long odds of one in 913,129 in matching four white balls and the Powerball.

Barley’s payout, however, was almost a loss. She told state lottery officials that after purchasing the Powerball play at the Varina Superstore Supermarket on Darbytown Rd. in Henrico, she mistakenly left the ticket slip at the store before taking her daughter to the park.

After realizing she left the ticket in the store, she quickly returned to find another lottery player purchasing tickets. In added fortune, that person had her ticket and gladly returned the receipt to Barley.

Henrico is about 10 miles northwest of the Virginia capital of Richmond.

Fortune Cookie Origins

Fortune cookies are a staple of Chinese food in the United States, but you won’t commonly find them delivered with the check while dining out in China.

Though the origins of the fortune cookie remain disputed, many credit a bakery in San Francisco for developing the treat in the 1890s or early 1900s. The first major manufacturer of fortune cookies is thought to be the Hong Kong Noodle Company in Los Angeles.

Until World War II, the cookies were predominantly served with Japanese cuisine in the US. That changed amid the war, as many Japanese Americans were interned, relocated, and/or incarcerated, which allowed Chinese Americans to embrace the popular fortune cookie.

It’s estimated that more than three billion fortune cookies are made annually in factories around the world. The fortunes, according to a 2023 article in The Wall Street Journal, are written by a handful of fortune cookie factory owners, their families, and small teams of copywriters.

However, how the paper slips are written is changing with the development of ChatGPT. The US’ major fortune cookie manufacturers, located in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, have reported adopting artificial intelligence (AI) to help expedite the fortune-writing process.

Another $50K Prize Outstanding

Along with reporting about Barley’s big win, officials at the Virginia Lottery say another Powerball play worth $50K remains unclaimed. And the clock to redeem the prize is ticking toward expiration.

Lottery reps say a ticket purchased at the Wawa at 2390 Plank Rd. in Fredericksburg for the Nov. 27, 2023, drawing must be redeemed before 5 p.m. today, May 28. If it isn’t, the ticket that’s worth $50K “will become worthless.”

In Virginia, winning tickets expire 180 days after the drawing.