When redditor dia_larue signed up for Reddit’s Arbitrary Day gift exchange she, like everyone else, had no idea who she would be matched with -- or what gift she might receive.
But lucky for her, Reddit’s surprising reach includes some people high up on the ladder of late-night television influence.
She was randomly matched with Gavin Purcell, a producer at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Purcell decided to give her a one-of-a-kind gift: a song about her, sung by hip-hop band The Roots, and dedicated by Fallon himself.
“Serenaded by Jimmy Fallon and The Roots,” she wrote when she posted the video to Reddit. “Thank you, [Gavin Purcell]!
The piece was never broadcast. Purcell mailed dia_larue a copy on DVD, and she’s the one who uploaded it to YouTube.
And Purcell made it clear the performance was meant not as a Reddit-stroking publicity stunt but a truly arbitrary (though much-loved) gift. He’s been a member (and mostly a lurker) on Reddit for five years.
“To me, Reddit has become the emotional heart of the Internet,” he wrote. “At least of my Internet.”
Arbitrary Day falls on the halfway point between Christmas each year, and is a kind of Christmas-in-June gift exchange. Or, to be more precise, as the official website says: “It's just an awesome excuse for strangers to mail each other presents, and then talk about it on the Internet.”
This is only the event’s second year, but it’s already grown to include nearly 43,000 people from 105 countries (who’ve spent over $1 million on gifts).
But big as the new holiday may be, Redditors still appreciated Fallon’s endorsement.
“Oh my god Jimmy Fallon just said ‘happy Arbitrary Day,’” wrote redditor 5days on dia_larue’s thread. “I'm giddy!”
For Reddit, long the underdog of Internet discussion sites, recognition is still the sweetest gift of all.
In a message to the Daily Dot, dia_larue gave a little more detail about her experience:
"This was my first reddit gift exchange, so this has been the only gift received," she wrote. "I didn't hear from my gifter at all until yesterday morning after the package containing the DVD with the song on it appeared. All I had to do was look at the return address on the package to know that it was legitimate. After getting the gift I googled gavinpurcell, and saw that he was a producer for the show. We then exchanged a few emails after in which he confirmed that."