Update, Saturday, Jan. 19, 3:30 p.m.: This story has been updated to add comment from Paul Rich, who took the photograph.
Bill Gates, the billionaire burger lover who has been known to grab a bite at Burgermaster in Bellevue, changed course over the weekend and was captured standing in line at a Dick’s Drive-In in Seattle.
With his hands in his pockets and a thousand-yard “I need a Deluxe and fries” stare on his face, Gates was photographed standing in the bright neon glow of the famed fast-food franchise.
The image was captured by Paul Rich at the Dick’s location on Northeast 45th Street in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood, around 7 p.m. last Sunday.
Rich, who has worked for Microsoft for more than 20 years and is currently a principal program manager in Azure Security, told GeekWire that he was not terribly surprised to see Gates at Dick’s, but that it seemed like one of the world’s richest people was there alone.
“He ordered a cheeseburger, fries and Coke,” said Rich, who has been going to the beloved fast-food franchise every week or so for about five years. “It’s mainly because my kids love their food, and I was there with my son, Joon, to pick up dinner for him and his little brother.”
Gates mingling with the Northwest everyman is not a new phenomenon, despite his immense wealth and celebrity status. But seeing him at Dick’s is a bit of a surprise, because Burgermaster has long been a favorite of his. Microsoft’s first Seattle-area office, in Bellevue, was near a Burgermaster, and Gates and team would frequent that establishment.
Gates and his wife Melinda have also been spotted in the past at the now-shuttered Harvard Exit movie theater in Capitol Hill, among other locations.
In 2011, during an appearance at the University of Washington, Gates told students that being a billionaire can be overrated. And he brought up burgers.
“I can understand wanting to have millions of dollars, there’s a certain freedom, meaningful freedom, that comes with that,” Gates said. “But once you get much beyond that, I have to tell you, it’s the same hamburger. Dick’s has not raised their prices enough.”