Lifestyle & Human Interest

He Splits $22 Million with Best Friend After Winning Lottery, Keeping Promise Made 20+ Years Ago


When true friends make a pact, they follow through with it, no matter how difficult or impossible it might seem.

In 1992, two genuine friends made a deal: Joseph Feeney and Thomas Cook decided that if either one of them ever won the Powerball jackpot, they’d split it with the other. They shook on it.

They bought tickets often, but they didn’t expect to win.

Many people like to daydream about what they’d do if they won the lottery, but Cook knew exactly what to do when he won the $22 million in the June 10 drawing. He called Feeney.

“He called me and I said, ‘are you jerking my bobber?'” Feeney told the Wisconsin Lottery.

Pope Francis Denies One of the Most Basic Tenets of Christianity in '60 Minutes' Interview

Feeney, who has spent much of his retirement fishing, formerly worked at a fire department. Cook, realizing what his winnings meant, promptly submitted his two-weeks notice.

“Congratulations to Tom, Joe, and their families,” Wisconsin Lottery Director Cindy Polzin said. “The power of friendship and a handshake has paid off. I’m thrilled for them—their lucky day has arrived!”

The win came as a shock to Cook, who handed the ticket off to his wife when the numbers started matching up.

“It was quite an experience when I read them first two, three numbers and I kinda froze and handed them to her, and she froze,” he explained in a Wisconsin Lottery video, laughing.

Cook and Feeney plan to travel more, thanks to this financial windfall. The two couples have traveled together in the past, and they plan on traveling together again — but in higher style.

“We can pursue what we feel comfortable with,” Cook said. “I can’t think of a better way to retire.”

Cook also looks forward to spending more time with family now that he’s able to retire.

Good Samaritan Brings Cheer to His Entire Neighborhood with Simple Act of Kindness

Of course, the two men didn’t walk away with the full listed amount. They opted for cash, and each ended up taking about $5.7 million home after taxes. Still, that’s nothing to sneeze at, and will certainly afford them a more enjoyable retirement.

And Cook doesn’t seem to have any regrets over splitting the win.

“A handshake’s a handshake, man,” he said.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , ,