Bill Gates turns out to be Michigan woman's Reddit Secret Santa

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

A Michigan woman received special gifts this year from her internet Secret Santa, who turned out to be a well-known billionaire that was touched by her story.

Shelby, a 33-year-old from Metro Detroit who declined to disclose her last name, was surprised to pick up an 81-pound package on Dec. 18 that was sent from Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates.

Reddit user, Shelby from Michigan, received an 81-pound package full of gifts from her Secret Santa, Bill Gates.

Shelby joined the largest online gift exchange, Reddit's 11th annual Secret Santa. Over the years, users of the forum sign up and get matched. Each user finds the perfect gift for their match and sends it by Dec. 20. More than 1.7 million gifts have been sent through the online exchange.

"It’s morning on December 18. The work holiday party is today, so I’m expecting a pretty lax day. I check the shipping page to make sure the package is still on track, and something curious catches my eye- 81 pounds. 81 POUNDS," she wrote on Reddit. "... This is when it hits me that this is something truly special. It’s only 9:30 a.m. and I can’t just ditch to go home to accept this surely gigantic package."

After her work holiday party, she said she jetted over to the FedEx location and upon giving the clerk her tracking number, he shouted, "Oh my God! You're the Bill Gates package. We've been waiting for you all day."

Reddit user, Shelby from Michigan, received an 81-pound package full of gifts from her Secret Santa, Bill Gates. It was the billionaire's 95th gift exchange.

The worker retrieved the large box, which was labeled "#95."

"I am momentarily perplexed, completely fixated on the fact that I am alive and this is actually happening, and then I remember that I mentioned that this was my 95th RedditGifts exchange in my profile," she said.

"I open the box and am immediately struck by a package that is literally lit up with a strand of fairy lights. Wow! I see the infamous Bill Gates letter placard and photo and my stomach flips. THIS JUST HAPPENED."

Gates wrote that he was touched by Shelby's story, who said this year was a roller coaster of emotions. Her mother unexpectedly died in March, 10 days before her destination wedding. In his note, Gates says he made a donation to the American Heart Association in her mother's memory. The donation was "the most special gift of all," she said.

In her box was Gates' deck of books for 2019, a Harry Potter Santa hat, Hylian shield earrings, handmade Zelda quilt, a hammock, candy, toys for her cat named Emmy, seven packs of assorted Oreos, games, a manuscript copy of The Great Gatsby, a Gatsby-themed candle, microscale Hogwarts and the retired UCS R2D2 adult LEGO sets, many "Twin Peaks" gift sets, embroidered L.L. Bean jacket worn by the show's crew members and more memorabilia.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_