I am one of those people that love the sound of the Salvation Army Bell and the sound that change makes as it is dropped into the red pail. It means Christmas is coming. It is proof that there are good and generous people in this world.
Today you can find these volunteers in generally the same places they have always been - street corners, malls and in front of stores like KMart and Walmart. Often times, they stand outside, shivering in the cold. Kudos to all those that have volunteered their time for this great organization that offers comforts to those in need.
So much has changed about this simple yearly tradition of bell ringers. When I was a child all the Salvation Army volunteers were dressed like Santa. When I was a child the red pails were made of metal, not plastic, and did not have locked lids. When I was a child the volunteers wished you a Merry Christmas, regardless if you gave a donation or not.
Yesterday I was doing a little Christmas shopping and noticed a young man standing post by his red plastic pail. I always make a donation, and do so when I am leaving the store. I smiled and walked by.
As I was coming out of the store and digging out my wallet, I saw that there were now two young people manning this post, a young girl and the same young man. May I stop right here and say how wonderful it was to see young people carrying on this tradition.
I took out the bill from my wallet and started to put it in the plastic pail with the locked lid and the young man said "Oh, wait! They told me to hold on to the bills!" Hmmmmmmmm...... He continued, "They lost the key and can't open the bucket to get the money out." Hmmmmmmmm...... As I returned the bill to my wallet, my heart still tugged at me to give, so...as we continued to converse about the locked bucket dilemma I dug in my wallet for an appropriate amount of change. Me, "Well, how do they get the coins out?" The young man replied "Well, they turn it upside down and keep shaking it until all of it comes out!" Hmmmmmmmm...... I dropped my change into the plastic pail with the locked lid that cannot be unlocked, smiled and said "Merry Christmas!"
The bell did not ring, the coins did not "clank" in the metal pail, and "Santa" did not wish me a Merry Christmas.
But, I know next year I'll stop by a Salvation Army post and donate again.
Hopefully all of their plastic pails will be in good working condition!