-- Martin Fuentes is proof that it pays to be patient, to persevere and, of course, to listen to a mother who had a hunch about one particular fortune cookie.
The retired mailman from Des Plaines, Illinois, won a $200,000 jackpot prize by repeatedly playing the lucky numbers he found inside a fortune cookie three years ago while eating dinner with his mother.
“She knew that I liked to play the lotto and we were having takeout Chinese food, and as I'm cracking open a fortune cookie, she said, ‘Well you should play these lucky numbers.’ And I said OK, just for you, ma,” Fuentes, 73, told ABC News of his mom, who died about a year ago at age 90.
Every single digit on Fuentes’ fortuitous ticket matched all five winning numbers from the Nov. 19 Lucky Day Lotto evening drawing: 02-09-14-30-35.
As for his plans, the father of two sons and daughters told ABC News today “everybody is going to get a little extra Christmas gift this year. All cash. I know they can use cash better than me going out and getting something.”
He won't be winning again with those same numbers. "I still play," he said. "But I am not playing lucky lotto or the fortune cookie numbers, just regular lotto with my family’s birthdays."
Fuentes purchased his Lucky Day Lotto ticket at a 7-Eleven in Des Plaines, according to a Illinois lottery statement.
The winning ticket was also shared with one other individual, who bought their ticket at a tobacco store in Oak Lawn, Illinois.
Each store will collect $2,000, or the equivalent of 1 percent of the prize amount, for selling the winning ticket, the Illinois Lottery said in a statement.