For one Reddit user, it was the Secret Santa surprise of a lifetime.
Back in 2009, Internet hive Reddit founded its own multinational, cross-cultural Secret Santa gift exchange. Last year, the event drew 44,805 participants from 130 countries, good enough for a Guinness World Record (online Secret Santa division). This year, it has reportedly attracted Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
In a post yesterday on redditgifts.com, a user named Rachel recalled opening a 7-pound package containing a book, a stuffed cow toy and a donation card – made out in Rachel's name – to Heifer International, a nonprofit. Also included: A picture of a smiling Bill Gates holding the cow and the donation card.
"Never in my entire life did I imagine, ever, ever, ever that Bill would get me. I am SO SO thankful for the time, thought and energy he put into my gift, and especially thankful for him over-nighting it," Rachel wrote. "I feel SO shocked and excited that not only did I receive a gift from Bill, but it was perfectly and EXACTLY tuned into my interests."
The only embarrassing fact, in Rachel's view, is that she'd put an iPad on her wish list – probably not the gift the co-founder of the company that makes the Surface tablet (an iPad competitor) is inclined to fork over.
A quick note here: We're not generally cynical or hard-hearted people. Moreover, if this is a prank, it was perpetrated by someone with amazing Photoshop skills. Still, we feel we should point out – since the world is full of social media hoaxsters – that Bill Gates has not yet stepped forward to confirm his participation in the Reddit Secret Santa program.
In related news, Microsoft, following in Apple's footsteps, recently announced it had 83 brick-and-mortar retail stores up and running in the US. "We have welcomed more than 362 million customers to our full-line, specialty and online Microsoft Store properties in more than 200 markets worldwide," the company said in a press release.