A Reddit user named Rachel was shocked this week when she found out that the "Bill" who was assigned to her in the website's annual Secret Santa gift exchange was actually a billionaire.
Bill Gates gifted her a stuffed cow along with a donation to the non-profit Heifer International and the travel book Journeys of a Lifetime. Plus there was a photo of him in front of a Christmas tree with the book, cow, and note.
"I thought Bill sounded like a friendly fellow," Rachel said. "In fact, I had this whole image of this poor guy named Bill trying to navigate my wishlist full of makeup, nailpolish, glittery things to buy me. Quite frankly I felt bad for this 'Bill'…"
Rachel explained that she didn't realize her Secret Santa was Bill Gates when she first opened the package:
"The first thing I noticed was a stuffed animal. I didn't know I gave off the stuffed animal vibe, but I excitedly added him to my collection of teddy bears and other delightful friendly creatures. Next, I found the card. To me, from Bill. This still had not clicked, by the way, that it was Bill Gates."
"Before I realized it was THE Bill, just thought it was a friendly fellow named Bill."
Here's the card she found when she opened the envelope.
"My new stuffed animal sitting in his peanuts!"
"My incredibly beautiful new book, it's HUGE!"
"This book is extremely large and getting both me and the book in the picture was extremely difficult."
Rachel wrote an extremely excited Reddit post after receiving the gift, thanking Gates:
"I am so very, very grateful for the amazing and thoughtful gift you have picked for me! Not only is the gift PERFECT from anyone, but I am sincerely very appreciative that you took the time to find something so fitting for me."
She also offered some details on the donation he made to Heifer International:
"I took a break from my present to research the charity a bit, and now the stuffed animal cow made sense. I was so excited, the cause seemed really worthy and amazing, and it is the season of giving. By the way, the charity "gives families in need the right tools- such as animals, seeds, clean water, safe stoves or a chance for girls to go to school." The last part was/is my favorite, since my master's degree is in education and I am SO into educational benefits for all. It makes me so happy that he was able to donate to a charity on my behalf that helped people with both needs and educational benefits. Nailed it, Bill!"
It wasn't clear how large of a donation Gates made to the charity, but Rachel speculated, "I can only imagine it was QUITE a bit."
The Microsoft founder is well-known for his philanthropy work through the Bill Gates Foundation, which donates millions of dollars annually. A spokesman for Gates told GeekWire that Gates hoped participating in the Secret Santa would bring attention to the cause.
Gates has participated in the Reddit community before, doing an Ask Me Anything in February.
Rachel ended her Reddit post with the best apology:
ps: Sorry for the apple ipad on my wishlist, that was really awkward.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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