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A Schoolteacher Drew An Olympic Gold Medalist As A Secret Santa And Scored The Gift Of A Lifetime

“​The greatest letter I have ever received. I started tearing up and shaking (still shaking actually).”

Every year, the online photo site/community Imgur hosts one of the largest Secret Santa swaps in the world, bringing thousands together to surprise strangers with goodwill. And when you get that many people involved, don’t be surprised if a celebrity or two turn up to join in the festivities.

This year, Olympic swimmer (and gold medalist) Ryan Held participated in the site’s Secret Santa exchange and gave one lucky Imgurian a gift they won’t soon forget. Member BurtonBrit shared her story on the site when she was overwhelmed by the gift that came her way.


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She said in her post online:

Came home late after a looong day. Checked the mailbox and found this hanging out inside!

Instantly knew it was from a secret santa, but my husband and I both signed up, so I had to check to see which one of us it was for. This one was for me, yay! Still called my husband up to enjoy opening it with me. I looked to see where it was from, and saw the state, but honestly didn't really pay much attention to the senders name before opening. I know, I know.... I was excited!

Here’s what she had to good fortune to come across from her Secret Santa (who probably wasn’t quite so secret after the gift was unwrapped):

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Not only did she get this amazing gift, but also a very sweet letter from fellow Imgurian Ryan Held:

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The lucky teacher was over the moon that he’d also put such thought into a letter to her.

The greatest letter I have ever received. I started tearing up and shaking (still shaking actually).

@Heldilox I saw your interview clips online after the race this summer, I had a similar reaction while reading this! I was so moved by the part about my students, that's about where I lost it!

And to prove what a great guy he really is, he also included another letter addressed to the teacher’s students, offering up a little advice based on the path he’s taken to Olympic success:

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As far as Secret Santa gifts go, this has to be among the best in history. Sure beats a Starbucks gift card or a bottle opener!

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I am blown away. THANK YOU RYAN HELD!

Not only has my day been made, but my week, Christmas, year even. Thank you so, so, so much. I will update the post my students' reactions tomorrow night.

Sports
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The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.





Culture
Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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