If your secret Santa at work dropped the ball and simply gave you a lame gift card for someplace you wouldn’t set foot in, well, maybe cut them a little slack. There’s only so much a person can do with a $20 spending limit.
Now when your secret Santa happens to be one of the wealthiest people on the planet with a reputation for giving back, let’s just say that it’s a whole different ballgame. A Michigan woman named Shelby was lucky enough to be the recipient of a Christmas package from none other than Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and the billionaire philanthropist truly delivered.
Nobody Does Secret Santa Quite Like Bill Gates
So what exactly can one expect to get from a billionaire of the tech industry? Shelby was at work when she was notified by FedEx that she had a package waiting for her at their warehouse. Upon looking at the email on her computer she was flabbergasted when she read who it was from.
“The return address of who sent me the gift said ‘Bill Gates,'” recalled Shelby. “I thought ‘What is going on? Bill Gates is my secret Santa!” The 33-year-old had been gifted 81 pounds of everything that she loved, ranging from books and treats to nerdy toys and memorabilia.
Gates did get Shelby two LEGO sets she already owned, but generally hit it out of the park. “Bill really did his research,” Shelby told MarketWatch. “As for everything else, they are 100 percent what I would have bought for myself.” Shelby’s stash from the tech billionaire included everything from her favorite snacks such as chocolate from Seattle Chocolate Co. and seven kinds of Oreos to memorabilia from her favorite movies and TV shows. Items such as a Harry Potter-themed Santa Claus hat, handmade “Legend of Zelda” quilt, an L.L. Bean jacket worn by the crew members of Twin Peaks were just a few of the gifts. In addition to books recommended by Gates, Shelby also received a manuscript copy of The Great Gatsby.
“The Great Gatsby, is my favorite novel. I had some lines from Great Gatsby in my wedding vows. So this really is a special book to me,” she said. There were also Star Wars and Harry Potter toys that were a fitting match for Shelby who goes by the name Szor on Reddit and says that R2D2 is her “spirit robot.” Gates was even thoughtful enough to include some toys for Shelby’s cat Emmy.
So How Does a Person Get Bill Gates as a Secret Santa?
Perhaps you’re wondering how Shelby was lucky enough to get a secret Santa package from a man with a net worth of nearly $110 billion. Luck would have it that both Shelby and Gates participate in the subreddit r/SecretSanta and RedditGifts.com.
Shelby had participated in 95 gift exchanges and while she was aware that Gates was also known to take part, she never thought he’d get matched with her. “I’m definitely gonna keep participating in Reddit Gifts,” Shelby said before adding “It brings me a lot of joy.”
Gates is known for not just giving really cool gifts that are a hit with the person’s personality, but for finding a way to connect to a bigger cause. For example, in 2017 an Austin woman with a soft spot for cats was given a donation to her three favorite cat charities by Gates.
Christmas 2019 was no different and Gates truly made an impact on Shelby with one gift in particular.
“It Means More to Me Than I Can Express”
Along with a note from Gates was one gift that truly topped everything else in the package. Gates made a donation to The American Heart Association in honor of Shelby’s late mother who passed away last March, a mere 10 days before her daughter’s wedding.
“I know no gift will ever make up for losing someone so important to you,” Gates wrote in his letter to Shelby. “I was very sorry to hear about your mom and I’ve made a donation to the American Heart Association in her memory. I hope you and your family find your new normal this holiday season.”
The gift was truly the surprise that Shelby needed during the holiday season after what had been a year full of highs and lows.
“Your donation to The American Heart Association in my mom’s memory is the most special gift of all” Shelby wrote to Gates on Reddit. “It means more to me than I can express. This year has been a complete rollercoaster of emotions for me … It has been hard to drum up holiday spirit this year, and this has been a taser of Christmas cheer.”
The generosity of Gates’ holiday spirit certainly resonated with Shelby who said that she “can’t wait to continue, and to spoil more people with presents, and pass it forward.”
Photos via YouTube