I read it as (assumed) someone gifted him a used laptop. If it is indeed new, then contact HP support as it shouldn't be missing an OS out of the box.
True. I just re read the whole bit about him having to obtain a OS. I'd now assume the same as you that it's used. But even still... It would normally still have a valid key, unless like all of my relatives seem to be able to do have completely destroyed the sticker to the point of it being non readable
Next question @OP. If you had to buy a new OS. Where did you buy it? Did it not come with disks?