When Tom Cook of Wisconsin checked his Powerball ticket last month, he discovered that he had won the $22 million jackpot. Without hesitating, he made the decision to split the winnings with his longtime friend Joe Feeney. Around 22 years ago, the friends made a pact that if either one of them ever won the lottery, they would share it, according to USA Today.
Cook did not even consider not honoring the pact, which he believed dates back 20 years. The agreement actually started around 1992, when the Powerball was first offered in the state of Wisconsin. Of course, at the time, he never imagined he would ever win such an enormous prize.
"A handshake is a handshake, man," said Cook of his decision to split the winnings with Feeney.
"We said whenever the big winner comes, we're going to split it, so we buy every week... not really thinking it would happen," Feeney said.
When Cook told his pal that he had not only won the jackpot but also would be giving him half of it, Feeney was shocked. At first, he thought his friend was just joking in an attempt to get a reaction out of him.
"Are you jerking my bobber?" he had responded.
The pair now chuckle over his comical choice of words as he first absorbed the life-changing news.
The Lottery was able to officially confirm that the two friends would in fact be splitting the money. They will be taking a cash payout of $16.7 million, which will leave each of them with $5.7 million after taxes.
Cook completely beat the odds by securing this prize. In fact, his chances were a mere 1 in 292,201,338. Despite their new wealth, neither Cook nor Feeney have any definite plans of living a life of luxury. Rather, they will be using the funds to allow themselves a more peaceful and stress-free lifestyle.
Cook was able to quit his job which will allow him more time to spend with his family and travel without any concern over finances. Even now that he has landed the ultimate prize, he will continue to play the Powerball.
Winning the Powerball, though possible, is incredibly unlikely. However, there are ways to boost one's chances, even ever-so-slightly. As The Inquisitr previously reported, it is best to buy tickets early, never choose one's own numbers, and participate in a jackpot pool. This is when friends or co-workers pool their money to purchase tickets and then if one of them wins, everyone gets a portion of the winnings.