TORONTO – A Reddit user participating in the website’s annual Secret Santa gift exchange was shocked to discover that her gift, signed “From Bill,” was from none other than Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Gates sent the user – identified on Reddit as Rachel – National Geographic’s travel book “Journey’s of a Lifetime,” and a stuffed cow along with a donation to the non-profit organization Heifer International, which helps provide families living in poverty with animals.
He even included a photo of himself holding the stuffed cow and a note to prove he sent the gift.
In a Reddit post published Monday, Rachel explains that she didn’t even realize the gift was sent from Gates (or “THE Bill” as she describes him) when she first opened the package.
“I thought Bill sounded like a friendly fellow. In fact, I had this whole image of this poor guy named Bill trying to navigate my wish list full of makeup, nail polish, glittery things to buy me,” she wrote from her Reddit account NY1227.
“I finally opened the card and realized that “Bill” (I use quotes, because like I said, I still didn’t realize that this was THE Bill) had donated to a charity on my behalf.”
The Redditor writes that it wasn’t until she came across the photo of Gates and the stuffed cow that she realized just who her Secret Santa was.
“All the presents I just tore open, the charity, then everything– was from Bill GATES. I quickly went back to the book to see a really nice message and note from Bill wishing me a Merry Christmas and a Happy Birthday (not pictured, because I really want to keep one part of this gift to myself) my jaw hit the EVER LOVING FLOOR,” she wrote.
Reddit’s Secret Santa exchange allows users to sign up and put together a wish list; they are then matched with another user to ship gifts to. Last year, over 44,000 people in 130 countries participated – breaking the world record for the largest Secret Santa gift exchange.
Aside from makeup and nail polish, Rachel’s wish list mentioned that she was interested in travel, which may explain Gates’ choice in sending her a world travel book.
According to a report by Geek Wire, a spokesperson for Gates said the tech icon chose to participate in the Redditgifts Secret Santa gift exchange to shed some light on Heifer International’s cause.
A spokesperson for Gates explained to Geek Wire that Gates enjoyed the experience of his “Ask Me Anything Q&A” on the site so much he wanted to continue participating in the community.
In addition to thanking Gates for her gift, Rachel also included an apology for one of the item on her wish list.
“P.S. Sorry for the apple iPad on my wish list, that was really awkward,” she wrote.