Bill Gates sends 81-pound Secret Santa gift to lucky Reddit user
Bill Gates talks to reporters about the 2016 annual letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in New York, Monday, Feb. 22, 2016.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
TORONTO -- A Michigan woman was shocked to receive an 81-pound Secret Santa gift from one of Reddit’s most famous gift exchange participants, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, complete with a heartfelt message about the recent death of her mother.
Reddit user “Szor,” known by her first name Shelby, signed up for the annual Reddit Secret Santa gift exchange organized by users in the subreddit r/SecretSanta.
Having participated in 95 previous Reddit gift exchanges, Shelby knew that Gates had participated in the holiday version of Reddit gifts for several years -- but didn’t expect to be the lucky recipient until she received a shipping notification for her massive 81-pound gift.
“The best thing is, I go to the FedEx location and I’m like ‘hey I’m here to pick up a package...’ and they’re like ‘oh it’s you! We’ve been waiting for you all day,’” Shelby said in a YouTube video uploaded Dec. 20.
“They’re like, ‘you’re the Bill Gates package!’”
Inside the box, she found a personalized message from the tech giant and a thoughtful collection of gifts based on the questionnaire Shelby filled out at the start of the exchange, including a manuscript copy of her favourite book “The Great Gatsby” with a handwritten message from Gates, a collection of memorabilia from the TV series Twin Peaks, and two adult-level LEGO sets.
But Shelby noted the most thoughtful gift of all was a donation to the American Heart Association in her late mother’s memory.
“Bill Gates, you are a blessing. This year has been a complete rollercoaster of emotions for me; in March, I lost my mother completely unexpectedly only 10 days before my destination wedding," Shelby wrote on Reddit.
“It has been hard to drum up holiday spirit this year, and this has been a zap (Taser) of Christmas cheer.”
Reddit Gifts has been holding its annual Secret Santa event since 2009. According to the platform, approximately 200,000 users -- including Gates -- from 140 countries participated in last year’s event.
Gates’ thoughtful gift-giving abilities have become a fan favourite since he first participated in 2016.
The website also hosts non-holiday related gift exchanges, which allowed Shelby to participate in over 95 different gift exchanges throughout her time on Reddit.
“It’s a lot of fun to try to learn about a stranger and try to make their day… and get something in the mail other than bills,” she said.
“It’s been such a crazy year and this was such a fun thing to have happen to me – I can’t even believe it.”