The cold wind blew in my face. It blew at me as I rang my bell, hoping that people will donate to the Salvation Army.
With the turnout of events this year, I have had the usual turn out. There are the givers that always give, and then there are those who completely ignore me. Whatever the case, I am happy to stand outside, ringing my bell.
Every now and then, people ask me if I’m cold. To be honest, I’m actually bundled up pretty good. Thermal underwear, T-shirt, sweat pants, regular pants, snow vest, snow pants, and a heavy winter coat. In case it gets really cold, I have my scarf. My feet are fairly warm with the wool socks that I have on over my regular socks.
Getting back to my job, I saw a young woman walking in. She doesn’t bother to give me anything. Most people don’t when they’re walking in. It’s pretty much when they walk out that I have the best odds of getting something.
An old man walked out of the store, and placed a $10 bill in the container.
“I’d like to give you more,” he told me. “But it’s all that I can give you right now. Merry Christmas!”
“Well, thank you and God bless!” I told him.
At that, the old man left, hurrying to his car because of the cold wind.
A younger guy exited the store, dumping a handful of change into the container.
“I don’t like change,” the guy told me. “So you can have all of mine. Hope you get a lot!”
The guy then hurried to his car, like the old man did.
A few more came by. Most passed by the container. A couple of ladies threw a small handful of change into the container. One young lady stopped and stuck a $20 bill in the container.
“This charity means so much to me,” the young lady said, wiping away tears. “You gave me a car, clothing and you helped me get back on my feet. I hope you get many more gifts like this. Merry Christmas. Stay warm!”
“I will,” I told her. “I’m glad that we could help you. “Merry Christmas!”
After that, a lot of people avoided me. I think the main reason had to do with the cold winds, which was getting stronger and stronger by the minute. Despite that, I kept ringing my bell as loud as I could.
Then, an older man comes up to me, and places 3 $100 bills in the container. I could not believe my eyes.
“I did not come here to shop.” the man told me. “I’m here to help you guys. While everyone else buys gifts, I spend my money on this charity. This is the fifth year that I have been doing this, and I feel more and more joyful each time I do it.”
“Thank you very much,” I told him. “This will really help a whole lot.”
“No,” the man told me. “Thank you. This charity has changed my life. When I was young, I had nothing to my name, and I got in a lot of trouble. This charity has really helped me, and I’m returning the favor.”
I nodded. A tear almost came out of my eyes, but I fought it back. “Wow. That’s an amazing story.”
The man nodded. “Well, I gotta get to the next store. I hope all you bell ringers are staying warm. Merry Christmas and God bless you.”
The man walked back to his car, fighting the cold air.
With my face starting to feel cold, I got out my scarf and wrapped it around my face. I then continued ringing.
As I fought the cold air, I looked around and smiled. I love this job, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world.
©2012 K. L. Walker