12/04/2009

Salvation Army Soldiers


You've seen them in front of all the major department stores during the Christmas season. The people who tirelessly ring that bell, with the metal kettle to drop donations at their side. I call them Salvation Army soldiers. Because that is what they are, basically. Standing for hours on end, ringing that bell. I've often wondered just how they were able to do that. I'm sure they take breaks. Still...it takes a very dedicated "soldier" to do that. The Salvation Army is one of three charities to which I make an annual donation. Once I do that, I feel I have done my duty. So, I have felt no remorse not to drop any change in that kettle when going to Target or Wal-Mar, Sears...whatever.

Yesterday, as I was heading into Home Depot, there was the Salvation Army soldier doing his duty in front of that store. I had a long walk before I could get to where the bell ringer was in front of the store. So, I had time to notice all the people who were passing him by. But, he kept ringing that bell, cheerfully it seemed to me at the time. But, as I walked past him, I noticed tears in the corners of his eyes. I have no idea if those tears were due to being in physical pain. Maybe problems he has at home. Or maybe, just maybe, it was due to all those people in such a rush that they just simply ignored this man, faithfully ringing that bell for all to hear in the parking lot. Or maybe those tears were due to the terrible economic times in which there are so many people suffering this holiday season. Maybe that is why those tears were there on his face. I walked past him also. But, as I was about to enter the store, I turned around, opened my wallet and stuffed a five-dollar bill into his kettle. He very gratefully thanked me and, I in turn, thanked him for his service.

The point I'm making; in the hurry, hurry frantic pace we find ourselves in this holiday season, please don't forget those less fortunate than yourself. There are organizations and people trying to make people's lives a little more bearable during this Christmas season. When you walk past that Salvation Army soldier, you might want to remember that.


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