One thing I like especially with my current job is that I have certain freedom to choose what to do. Naturally there are some restrictions but they are made with some common sense. So, some time ago I spent few quality hours with Python.
It is just an another scripting language basically. But it is pretty good one. It is readable, it has plenty of support and resources online and I happen to like it. Enough reasons =)
There has been discussion now and then about which language to choose to get started with programming. Some people recommend Java or C/C++ but in my opinion those have way too much distracting things harassing beginner from learning basics of programming. Classpath problems, cryptic errors, compile, link, run etc. On the other hand some people recommend HTML but that is not programming because it is just structured way to describe layout.
I wrote my first lines with GW-Basic which I wouldn't recommend to anyone. Maybe modern basic could be better but I have no experience of those. My last basic I used was AMOS for Amiga. (I never admit using Visual Basic, never). Then I was suffering with C and pointers but I managed to get my first windowed app done in Mac OS 7/8. Oh, and some compulsory Pascal and Logo. Uh... Then I got to know Java and after plenty of effort I feel ok with it.
So, what I would recommend for somebody without any experience. I would go and show Python. It is easy to start with so called calculator mode, experiment with longer codes and continue all the way to object oriented programming. It is available to all major platforms, too.
Some info about those relics: