It's possible, but I don't think they got early access. What happened is a few players found that if they left their original Xboxes connected to Live before the service was removed, they would still have it until they disconnected. So they were able to sign in on the last day of the original Xbox live, and keep connected as long as they didn't shut the game off. Microsoft noticed this, and rewarded those loyal players with free access to the Reach beta. So if your friend was one of those people, he might have got a code, but probably didn't get early access.