Granddaughter’s Fortune Cookie Led to $344.6 Million North Carolina Powerball Win

Wednesday June 5th 2019

The winner of Saturday’s $344.6 million Powerball jackpot has come forward to claim his prize – and he credits his new fortune to a fortune cookie.

Charles W. Jackson Jr. chose his Powerball numbers for the June 1st drawing based on a Vietnamese restaurant fortune cookie given to him by his granddaughter.

“You play to win, but you don’t ever expect to win," he said as he took part in a press conference at North Carolina Education Lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Tuesday.

Mr. Jackson is a 66-year-old retired Cumberland County retailer, who used to own a military store near Fort Bragg.

When he first checked his numbers on Tuesday morning, he missed the last digit and believed he’d won $50,000. He started the journey to Raleigh to collect the prize.

But then he checked the ticket a second time.

"I said, 'Dang, I got them all,'" he recalled.

Mr. Jackson doesn’t watch TV news and didn’t know how much the jackpot was worth. His wife told him to Google it.

"You ain't going to believe this — I got it all," he told her.

Mr. Jackson opted for the $223 million single lump sum payment rather than receiving $344.6 million in annuity payments over 29 years.

Although Jackson has won small amounts while playing the lottery for years, he’s still adjusting to his amazing windfall. “It still hasn’t come over me yet, how much — all that money,” he said.

"I don't know what to do with it. I hope it don't change me a lot," Jackson said. "I'm still going to wear my jeans — maybe newer ones."

He has already decided to donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Wounded Warrior Project.

He’ll also give his brother $1 million as part of a longstanding deal between them that if either ever won big, he would give his brother a million.

Jackson would also like to visit Vietnam again with his wife – he’s already been there about 20 times, he told the news conference.

He purchased the winning ticket Carlie C's, an IGA grocery store on North Main Street in Hope Mills, where he's bought most of his lottery tickets.

The store will receive a $50,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket. "I'm glad they're happy, too, because they're nice people," Jackson said.

Jackson’s win was the largest lottery prize ever won by a single ticket in North Carolina, and the fifth time that a NC ticket has claimed a Powerball jackpot.

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