An image in a viral Facebook post is misrepresented as proof that Bill Gates once offered a journalist a blank check to stress a point about seizing opportunities. The photo pertains to a different incident – an interview with a British morning TV show where the hosts gave Gates a gift, not the other way around.
Screengrab of the viral Facebook post misrepresenting as proof that Bill Gates once offered a journalist a blank check to stress a point about seizing opportunities. As of Oct. 6, the post has generated 23,000 reactions and 28,000 shares.
An Oct. 2, 2021 post by a Facebook user from Tagum City, Davao del Norte featured a screengrab of a TV interview showing Bill Gates allegedly giving a gift to a female TV host. That portion of the image was encircled in red to call the attention of readers.
The post revived a claim that the Microsoft founder once gave a blank check to a journalist who asked him the secret to his success. The journalist supposedly declined the offer; Gates handed the blank check to her anew, but she again refused to accept it. Bill Gates then allegedly tore up the check and said, “The secret to my success is that I don’t miss any opportunity like you just did. If you had the philosophy to see situations and proposals as opportunities, you could have become the richest journalist in the world…The difference between you and me, is that I see opportunities in everything and you saw everything, except a chance.” As of Oct. 6, the post has generated 23,000 reactions and 28,000 shares .
A reverse image search showed that the screengrab came from a 2016 interview with Gates by British TV magazine show “This Morning” hosted by Ben Sheppard and Holly Willoughby. The alleged incident happened at the 5:44 mark of the interview. But it was not Gates who gave the interviewer the gift. The hosts gave him the present, which they described as something “money can’t buy.” Gates opened the present and found inside the ribboned tin can a “This Morning” coffee mug.
Inspiring as the blank-check story may be, there is no proof that it happened. There are no news reports to prove the interview ever took place. Articles (here and here) written about the incident in August last year referred to a Dec. 14, 2019 essay by Sylvain Saurel, a self-proclaimed Bitcoin entrepreneur. Saurel claimed to have read about the alleged interview “several years” before he wrote the article. “Actually, I do not know if this interview really took place or if it’s just some kind of urban legend that was launched one day and has grown over time,” he wrote. – Rommel F. Lopez
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