Cookies contain fortunes for Powerball winners
From Mary Snow
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The odds to win were one in 2.9 million. But, suddenly, a surge of people came forward with winning Powerball tickets, claiming at least $100,000.
Officials realized that in a pile of cookies, there was a fortune.
Consider this the case of the fortune cookie cracked.
Beneath proverbs such as "Don't be hasty ... prosperity will knock on your door soon," are so-called lucky numbers.
And for some who used those lucky numbers to play the lottery in late March, prosperity did come knocking.
"One hundred ten people -- they all hit it at the same time!" says Sing Lee, president of Wonton Food.
Marjorie and Donald Cobbs of Arizona used their fortune cookie figures to pick five of six winning numbers.
"I just thought, 'Heck, I'll just try it. If it wins, well, fine. If it doesn't, well, fine too,'" says Marjorie.
At first, lottery officials were at a loss.
They scoured the possibilities, starting with the ABC show "Lost."
"We knew there had been inquiries to use a Powerball drawing in one of the scripts for a TV show. We thought maybe it had something to do with that," says Powerball Group Chairman Randy Davis.
They also thought it may have something to do with a Powerball plot on the soap opera "The Young and the Restless."
That didn't pan out either.
"When some of the winners started coming in from around the country, they said they chose the winning numbers from fortune cookies," says Davis.
Seeking to unlock the mystery of the cookie "dough," lottery investigators traveled the country, visiting Chinese restaurants and stores.
It led them to Wonton Food in Long Island City, New York, maker of 4 million fortune cookies a day.
And how by chance did Wonton Food come up with the numbers?
"We handpick them randomly. We write a number on a piece of paper, fold them, put them in a basket and pick them up," says Derrick Wong of Wonton Food.
Wonton has phased in computer picked numbers to go along with their proverbs these days. The company says it hopes to spread more good fortune in the future by getting all six numbers right.