Yesterday when arriving home from my second job as a Lyft driver for Kaydee ( and it was a whopper of a drive for Bend, Oregon with our main hwy being closed due to a wreck, flashbacks of Seattle traffic 😱 ), there was a pile of little boxes on the stoop.
In the mix of packages there was a box from Amazon, which I didn’t recall ordering anything from Amazon, so I asked Becky if it was hers. Nobody knew the origin of the box, so I opened it up and saw a gift wrapped package inside. I immediately figured it was for Kaydee who had just had a birthday this month – late presents are a norm in our families ;). But when I inspected the gift tag, I realized the gift was for me:
May Walter keep your home safe from burglars.From A8C Secret Santa
So I had signed up to participate in this year’s “Secret Santa” gift exchange at a8c ( Automattic, my place of employment and hosting provider of this fine blog ). My secret santa had sent me a note earlier this week via Slack, and it had a reference to Chewbacca so I was thinking the gift might be wookie themed. It also made me start to wonder who my secret santa was, and perhaps they either know me, and my wicked good Chewie sound, or maybe they watched some videos of me on our company’s internal version of “YouTube” which is called a8c.tv. Either way, I was intrigued and excited to open the gift!!
The gift also reminded of just how wonderful it is to get a surprise in the mail. After months of political post cards mingled in with my standard bills, it was so neat to get a surprise.
The guidelines for the gift exchange are pretty simple: $25 to spend ( not including shipping ) and try to be creative based upon getting to know your colleague via their digital presence at the company ( we are entirely remote! ). Inside the box was a Walter the Farting Dog stuffed animal ( that makes actual fart noises ) and a waterproof cell phone case!
Walter the What?!
For those of you whom might not have had the pleasure of hanging out with a younger kid in the past ten years or so, Walter the Farting dog is a charming story of a rescue mutt who overcomes adversity, and uses what is seemingly a negative trait ( horrible gas ) and turns it into a super power ( protecting the family from burglars one night ). It is an awesome story, and it appears it has spawned some follow-up books which I have yet to read.
So at this point I’m just laughing out loud, but also wondering WHO THE SECRET SANTA IS!!?? This person either knows me already, perhaps I’ve worked with them on a team before, or have told them about my fascination with Walter. Or the person is possibly Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of our company, whom asked me in my interview “If you could have the entire company read a book, what would it be?” – and on the spot I had looked across the room, saw our copy of Walter the Farting Dog and just went with it 🤣. I’m fairly certain I might be the only person in the history of tech company interviews who has answered that sort of question with Walter the Farting Dog.
Furthermore the santa either knew that I had broken my phone this summer by jumping into a river with it in my pocket, or perhaps did some sleuthing and saw me mention it in our team chat channel recently. I don’t know, but OMG the suspense of finding out the identity of the secret santa has me on the edge of my stand-up desk today.
Regardless of your true identity Secret Santa, I just want to say thank you. The thoughtfulness of these gifts really was so wonderful – truly a bright beam of 🌞 in what has been a pretty cloudy year for all of us. I sincerely look forward to the day when I can thank you IRL at the GM… I’ll have Walter with me.