To most of us, fortune cookies are just a charming detail at the end of a meal — and their vague prophecies and snippets of folk wisdom are not to be taken seriously.
But to Danny Williams, the numbers printed on a slip inside one cookie seemed to promise a real fortune — and his hunch came true as they won him a Lottery jackpot.
The 23-year-old engineer beat million-to-one odds to win a share of the top prize in the National Lottery.
He had used the numbers 11, 12, 22, 23, 24 and 36 which were printed on a slip from a fortune cookie which was handed to him four years ago at a Chinese restaurant in Greece as he dined with girlfriend Christina Vlahoyannis, 22.
He had never won more than £36 using the numbers, but now Williams has scooped a share of the £2,355,880 jackpot.
Williams said, "A lady from the National Lottery called me to say I'd won. At first I thought it was a prank call. It just didn't sink in.
"I didn't want to tell anyone until I knew it was definite and it was killing me having to keep quiet."
Williams, from Harold Hill, Essex, is £235,588 richer today after becoming one of 10 people who chose the right number.
"The cookie had some wise saying on it and at the bottom, six numbers. Looking back I did think there might be something special in those numbers," Williams said.
"From that day on I played those numbers. I'd won [small prizes] here and there but I didn't change those numbers because I thought the moment I did would be the day they came up."
On June 25, his luck changed.
"We have always wanted to go travelling but couldn't afford it, now we can — it's brilliant," Williams exclaimed.
"I randomly picked my Lotto numbers before we went on holiday, but then decided to take the numbers from the fortune cookie and have stuck with them ever since."
He celebrated his win with his girlfriend and sisters with a bottle of champagne on ice but said he had his work cut out convincing them it was not a joke.
"They were absolutely ecstatic but they thought I was having a laugh at first."
He added, "Christina and I are going on holiday which we booked before I found out I'd won.
"When we come back we might have to go on a bit of a spending spree. But I'm going to be sensible. I'd like to treat myself to a motorbike, then look at buying a house."