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.

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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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald