Ringing the Bell

On Saturday I was finally able to do something that I'd wanted to do for a very long time: ring the bell for a couple hours for the Salvation Army bucket in front of our local grocery store. It was a really cold morning (probably low 20's) with ice all over the place, but the store was still very busy. I learned several important things for which I am very grateful:
  1. I learned in about 5 minutes to stop judging people (I shouldn't do it anyway, I know). Those who *appeared* the least likely to give donated the most. Those who seemed the most eligible avoided eye contact.
  2. It's really cool to watch people put 5, 10, and 20 dollar bills into the bucket. I never knew folks were that generous.
  3. There is still much goodness in our society. It just gets pushed aside for juicier stories on the evening news. In the course of a couple hours, I'm sure I picked up at least a couple hundred dollars in that bucket. The guy who came in the afternoon said he had to empty it because it was so full. That is very cool!
But there were two especially significant things that will be impressed upon my mind for a very long time:
  1. A friend from church came to get groceries and said hi. On his way out he had a Starbucks, which was full of hot cocoa and which he gave to me. That was just a really thoughtful, nice thing to do. Guys are often a little more unaware of their environment than that.
  2. I had made a point of wishing folks who donated "Merry Christmas." I'm sure that somewhere in the rule sheet was a note about using politically correct terms, but I made a point of not reading that sheet thoroughly so that I could be ignorant in my behavior. One lady stopped me and said, "I'm so glad to hear you say it that way!" Me too! For me, it's Christmas and nothing else. It's not Happy Holidays or anything more middle of the road. It was warming to hear that I wasn't alone.
The kids came and helped ring for the last 5 minutes (because it was so cold). I hope they grow up remembering the kinds of things we did to help others out. It really helps me get into the spirit of the season. It was a thoroughly uplifting experience that I hope to be able to do again.

Perhaps the best part, though, was knowing how many of our friends from church volunteered to help out. A couple weeks ago Jolayne caught an article in the newspaper asking for help with bell ringing. She knew I'd wanted to do it and pointed me to it. I called the gal in charge and after volunteering myself, asked how much more help she might need. To my surprise, she had very little response compared to the need. So I told her we could get as many volunteers as she needed. I put her in contact with our ward public affairs person and the word went out quickly. We filled 20+ positions in a brief amount of time. Very heart warming to see people helping out so enthusiastically. It's also a pretty neat experience to come out of the grocery store and see someone you know standing there ringing the bell.


Becky said…
Thats really cool that you had the opportunity to do that! I dont know if any of our stores around here even allow them anymore.
With so many stories about how mean and bad the world is, Its great to hear about stories like this that put some faith back into mankind.
Lori said…
That's way cool you got to do that. We dont ever carry any cash on us (we're strictly card people), so I always feel bad not having anything to give the bell ringers except a nice smile and a thank you. I should keep some cash on me just in case the opportunity arises though.
Jenn said…
What a great experience. It makes me happy that so many people still donate; it's hard to see that when you're leaving the store yourself (and don't carry any cash). Maybe we'll look into a place around here (if we can beat all the zoobies that have to do service for religion classes).
kevandcan said…
That's a great post -- thanks for sharing

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