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Old 20 December 2015, 11:40 AM
Crius of CoH's Avatar
Crius of CoH Crius of CoH is offline
Join Date: 13 February 2006
Location: Paragon City (Cranston), RI
Posts: 1,978

This is an anecdote I read in a book about the beginnings of the personal computer revolution: Accidental Empires, by "Robert X. Cringely" (a psuedonym for Mark Stephens). It is at least third hand, assuming it's anywhere near true. Ah! "Cringely" has e-published the book online (albeit chopped up into entries on his blog, back in the 2013 section), so I can cut & paste. This isn't truly "celebrity behaving badly", but it borders the topic, and may also provide some small degree of insight into the general topic.

William H. Gates III stood in the checkout line at an all-night convenience store near his home in the Laurelhurst section of Seattle. It was about midnight, and he was holding a carton of butter pecan ice cream. The line inched forward, and eventually it was his turn to pay. He put some money on the counter, along with the ice cream, and then began to search his pockets.

“I’ve got a 50-cents-off coupon here somewhere,” he said, giving up on his pants pockets and moving up to search the pockets of his plaid shirt.

The clerk waited, the ice cream melted, the other customers, standing in line with their root beer Slurpies and six-packs of beer, fumed as Gates searched in vain for the coupon.

“Here,” said the next shopper in line, throwing down two quarters.

Gates took the money.

“Pay me back when you earn your first million,” the 7-11 philanthropist called as Gates and his ice cream faded into the night.

The shoppers just shook their heads. They all knew it was Bill Gates, who on that night in 1990 was approximately a three billion dollar man.

I figure there’s some real information in this story of Bill Gates and the ice cream. He took the money. What kind of person is this? What kind of person wouldn’t dig out his own 50 cents and pay for the ice cream? A person who didn’t have the money? Bill Gates has the money. A starving person? Bill Gates has never starved. Some paranoid schizophrenics would have taken the money (some wouldn’t, too), but I’ve heard no claims that Bill Gates is mentally ill. And a kid might take the money—some bright but poorly socialized kid under, say, the age of 9.

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