Gates' sudden compassion was not free. He'd spent years working against what he viewed as a threat to his company, and the personal savings account drained away while he posted cash margin calls. But with the business behind him and a lot of money to play with, he could finally let it go.
To show his appreciation, he offered to take the kid to Disneyland, which happened to be the boy's next dream destination. They visited the castles of Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, and Snow White, but the boy's pride got in the way of the giant teacup ride. He didn't even want to try that.
He left after two days, and San Francisco was never the same. The boy and his girlfriend found a fresh-faced, underpaid finance geek to be her boyfriend. He begged her to break up with him and go to school at Berkeley, which she did.
Meanwhile, the boy had moved to Seattle and polished off a bachelor's degree. He occasionally reminisced about his years at Microsoft and recalled some of the things he had learned from Hayes and Ballmer, but otherwise, he led a very normal life. He attended college, worked in policy at a venture capital firm, and tried not to be disappointed whenever the world wasn't blowing up.
The more interesting story is how Microsoft regained its footing. Its developers quietly showed up on Sourceforge to work on Office Open XML, while Ballmer and Gates kept working on Office versions. d2c66b5586