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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.


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):


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


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:


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!


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.

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