Bill Gates is well known as one of the richest people alive, so having him for a Secret Santa would make anyone say Holy Cow! For one lucky Reddit user named Rachel, that dream just became a reality. The “friendly fellow” named Bill whom Reddit had chosen to be her Secret Santa, turned out to be a multibillionaire with a heart for charities. Gates gave her a book, a small stuffed cow and a real live cow, which would be donated to a family in need. Gates used the Reddit Secret Santa program as an excuse to make a donation, in Rachel’s name, to the non-profit organization Heifer International.
Gates and Rachel were participating in redditgifts, a free program sponsored by Reddit, connecting strangers from around the world who want to spread Christmas cheer. In 2012, the Reddit Secret Santa program had 44,805 participants. Gates had recently participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) chat, and felt the Secret Santa program was an excellent idea.
When Rachel first received her gift package and discovered the little cow, she was curious that she had given off the “stuffed animal” girl vibe. This “Bill” guy, in her imagination, must have felt it was in her because of all the makeup and “glittery things” she had put in her wish-list.
It took a picture of “Bill” in front of a Christmas tree holding her stuffed cow, the book Journeys of a Lifetime and the nice note he’d signed, for Rachel to realize her Secret Santa was Bill Gates. She had not even imagined that all of the nice presents she had just opened, including the little cow, had come from Seattle’s most famous billionaire. Suddenly, she felt a little awkward about asking for an iPad. Nevertheless, Rachel wrote back that she was “sincerely very appreciative that you took the time to find something so fitting for me” in her thank you reply.
So Bill Gates is the perfect Secret Santa, but what’s with the ‘holy’ cow?
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the most charitable organizations at work in the world, today. In many parts of the undeveloped world, a family having a cow means a family with a source of income, dairy products and the ability to help themselves. Helping people help themselves is a large part of what they do.
The Gates Foundation focuses on a relatively small number of causes, for an organization with the kinds of resources they command. However, as Gates puts it on the foundation website, combating extreme poverty globally, while concentrating on education here in America, allows them to do the most good, long term. Dealing with the biggest barriers preventing people around the world from making the most of themselves, will help make the world a better place to live in, for centuries to come.
Gates and his Foundation are responsible for even the most rural of communities in America, having computers in their schools and libraries. They have funded research on new techniques which aids farms in developing nations to grow more food. This in turn allows the farmers to earn more money and better support their own communities. Gates has also made grants to medical researchers, so that they can create new tools to prevent and treat disease.
Holy cow, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation make Bill Gates a Secret Santa to people all over the world, every day.
By Ben Gaul