Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Bill Gates Makes a Darn Good Secret Santa

A Reddit user got quite the surprise when she received her gift as part of the site’s Secret Santa program.

Bill Gates with stuffed cow

The card was unassuming enough, reading “To Rachel, From Bill.”

But when she opened the gift, she realized it was from none other than Bill Gates.

So what did the billionaire give as a present? Enclosed with the card was a book and a stuffed cow. But the real present was a donation of an actual cow to Heifer International, an organization that helps to fund education and support small stakeholder farmers.

“My Secret Santa present to you is a cow,” Gates wrote in the hand-signed card. “Don’t worry, you will not have to build a barn,” he added, explaining that the cow would be given to a family in need to provide milk and income.

To prove he was legit, Gates enclosed a photo of himself with the card.

Rachel, who didn’t give her last name, posted her account of the experience on

It’s Gates’s second experience with Reddit, after taking part in one of the site’s Ask Me Anything events earlier this year.

Oh, and perhaps the best part of Rachel’s post on having Bill Gates as her Secret Santa was this postscript.

“Sorry for the apple iPad on my wishlist,” she wrote. “That was really awkward.”

(Thanks to Seattle tech site GeekWire for helping point the way to this one.)

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik