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Redditor hits the jackpot when she randomly pairs with Bill Gates for 'Secret Santa'

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Posted at 5:26 AM, Dec 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-26 08:26:27-05

A Redditor got the Christmas surprise of a lifetime last week when her "Secret Santa" turned out to be one of the wealthiest people in the world.

The Redditor, identified as a user named "Shelby," posted that her 95th gift exchange on the website turned out to be with Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

There's a number of gift exchange forums on Reddit — including r/SecretSanta — that pair two users at random to exchange gifts. Gates, a prolific visitor of the site, has been known to participate and go above and beyond with his gifts.

In a Reddit post, Shelby noted that she received a notification on Dec. 17 that her package was being overnighted to her house in Michigan from Washington. Knowing how expensive the shipping cost on the package was and that Gates has participated in Secret Santa in the past, Shelby said she joked to her husband that she might have been paired with Bill Gates.

It wasn't until the next morning that Shelby re-read the email and noted that the package that was being delivered to her home weighed 81 pounds.

"This is when it hits me that this is something truly special," Shelby wrote in her post.

Shelby wasn't able to leave work to receive the package at her home, so she called FedEx and requested they hold it at a distribution center. When she arrived at the center and gave an employee the tracking number, her hopes were confirmed.

"OH MY GOD! You're the BILL GATES package!!!!!! We've been waiting for you all day. Is this really from Bill Gates, or is it a hoax? Grab a cart because you're going to need it," the FedEx employee told Shelby.

Gates certainly did his research. Written on the side of the box was a No. 95 — a reference to Shelby's many past Reddit gift exchanges. All of the gifts were among Shelby's interests, and many were one of a kind.

According to Shelby's Reddit post, Bill Gates gifted her:

  • Bill's "Deck of Books 2019"
  • A Harry Potter santa hat
  • Hylian shield earrings
  • A "very heavy and beautiful" handmade Zelda quilt
  • A hammock
  • Candy, including Almond Rocca, Seattle mint chocolates and jelly beans
  • Toys for Shelby's cat
  • Seven packs of assorted Oreos
  • A cat-themed logic game
  • Eight hardcover books
  • An "extremely fancy manuscript copy" of her favorite book, The Great Gatsby
  • A candle inscribed with a passage from The Great Gatsby
  • Lego sets of Harry Potter's Hogwarts and Star Wars' R2D2
  • A "plethora" of Twin Peaks gifts

"Bill Gates, you are a blessing," Shelby said. "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. It has been hard to drum up holiday spirit this year, and this has been a zap taser of Christmas cheer. I have felt like I've been on another planet the past few days and I still cannot believe how lucky/cool/honored/all the adjectives I am to have had someone craft such a special and personal set of gifts just for little ol' me. And your donation to The American Heart Association in my mom's memory is the most special gift of all. It means more to me than I can express."