Nearly 30 years ago, longtime friends Thomas Cook and Joseph Feeney made a promise: if either one of them ever won the Powerball jackpot, they’d split the winnings.
So when Cook took home a Powerball ticket worth $22 million in late June, it meant Feeney was a winner too.
“A handshake’s a handshake,” Cook told the Wisconsin Lottery of keeping the agreement the pair made in 1992.
Added Feeney: “We said, whenever the big winner comes, we’re gonna split it. So we buy every week, not really thinking it would happen.”
Cook bought his winning ticket, which cost $2, at a Synergy Coop in Menomonie, Wisconsin ahead of the June 10 drawing, the lottery said in a press release.
He was eating breakfast when he learned the life-changing news that he’d picked himself a winner.
“It was quite an experience when I read the first two or three numbers,” he said. “I kind of froze and handed them to [my wife]. And she froze.”
When Cook called Feeney to tell him the good news, he was shocked too; “I said, ‘Are you jerking my bobber?’” Feeney recalled.
The men went with the cash option, and after taxes, they each took home about $5.7 million, according to the press release.
Cook was able to give his two weeks notice at work, and promptly retired thanks to his new windfall, which the odds of winning are just 1 in 292,201,338.
“I can’t think of a better way to retire,” he said. “I got grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and I’m looking forward to spending time with them, not worrying about if I got time to go, and where we can go, and [if we can] afford it.”
The pals also hope to get some traveling done with their wives – the foursome previously took a road trip together in a PT Cruiser convertible, but this time, hope they can splurge on something a bit larger.
And that’s not all – Cook says that he’s even bought two more lottery tickets since his big win.
“What can I lose?” he said.
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