Man Keeps Promise Made In 1992, Splits $22 Million Lottery Winnings With Friend

Friday, July 24th 2020, 12:18 pm
By: CBS News

Two friends made a promise in 1992: If one of them won the Powerball jackpot, they'd split the winnings.

Nearly 30 years later, one of them did — and made good on his promise, made with a handshake. 

It all happened earlier this month when Thomas Cook bought a Powerball ticket in Menomonie, Wisconsin, for the June 10 drawing. He ended up hitting the jackpot, according to Wisconsin Lottery. 

After learning he won a whopping $22 million, Cook called his friend Joe Feeney and told him the news. "He called me and I said, 'are you jerking my bobber?'" said Feeney, an avid fisherman, according to the lottery's press release. 

Cook, though, wasn't kidding, despite the odds: The overall odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338, according to the lottery.

Cook and Feeney chose the cash option, which gave them about $16.7 million — each taking home $5.7 million after taxes. Neither has extravagant plans for their winnings, except for enjoying retirement.

Feeney was already retired from the fire department. Cook gave his two-weeks notice to retire after winning and said now, they can "pursue what we feel comfortable with."

"I can't think of a better way to retire," Cook said. 

The friends look forward to some traveling, something they've already done together. Cook, Feeney and their wives used to take road trips together in a small convertible. Now, they plan to upgrade, says the press release. 

"The power of friendship and a handshake has paid off," Wisconsin Lottery Director Cindy Polzin said in the press release. "I'm thrilled for them — their lucky day has arrived!"