• Siobhán Grogan

Jingle All the Way


For the past few years around Christmas time I have seen The Salvation Army Bell Ringers standing outside stores. Some of them would sing, some of them would dance, sometimes you might even catch one asleep. Well I had a thought, for someone who loves people and Christmas as much as I do, this just might be best thing for me to do over the holiday breaks!

After graduating, I decided to sign up as lovely little graduation gift to myself. I chose for four different days, four hours each day 11:00 AM- 3:00 PM except for Saturday, my last day, I signed up for 3:00 PM-7:00 PM. Well, the evening before my first day I got a phone call "I am just calling to confirm that you will be volunteering tomorrow. Do you have any questions?" Well I did have a question, I wanted to bring my roller skates, I was hopeful it might look like I was ice skating. Well the lady on the other phone paused for a moment and then told me that I could absolutely bring my skates. The lady was actually the regional director for the Salvation Army, the next morning she came to the store to meet me in person. She smiled and laughed like a little kid at Christmas time. She thanked me and explained, when Bell Ringers do things fun like dancing or singing, the Kettle will get on Average twice as much. Wow! You are telling me that if I am fun and loud and just my crazy self I can help more people? SOLD!! She took my photo and watched me skate around for awhile before introducing me to Mr. Dan the bell ringer who is paid to be where I was volunteering.

He was a very friendly older gentleman. He explained to me that he likes to sing carols by the kettle but he had lost his voice trying to out-sing a group pf little children. Now, I was very curious and I had a lot of questions, but that friendly little voice in the back of my head said "Don't say anything!! No questions! Just smile and nod!!" Dan was got all set up at the front entrance and I moved over to the second entrance.

I am absolutely enthralled with the kindness in the hearts of so many people! Of course there were some people that kinda treated me like a student on the drill field campaigning. (If you keep your head down and pretend like they don't exist, they will go away.) But, others were so sweet to me! This store would have the baggers escort the individual patrons out to their cars and then return the cart to the store. The baggers were all so friendly! They would laugh and clap as I would do my dorky little stunts, they would stop the carts on their way out of the store so that I could play with the little kids. One time a little old lady was walking out alone without a cart and this high school aged bagger stopped what he was doing and walked her to her car saying she needed to be careful, that she was too pretty to be walking alone! TOO CUTE!!! That made that woman's day! One bagger got a tip after walking the individual out to the car. He promptly ran over to me and donated his tip to The Salvation Army! What!?!?! As for the kids, on the first day a little girl came up to me and asked "How do you do that?" I smiled because we were about to have a blast! "You just sorta walk like a penguin and before you know it, you can skate." Now in front of this store was me this little girl and her mom all waddling around like penguins! Quality experience! People would go buy me coffee or hot chocolate just to be kind, others would give me hugs and thank me, some even recorded me and put it up on social media telling their friends to come donate! What an experience. I did fall down.....twice. The baggers all noticed immediately and ran out to check on me and asked me if I was alright. On my last day I dressed like an elf and when the sun went down people were even more fixated on the light-up wheels. It was truly an incredible experience and an amazing gift!

After all, who better to ring a bell for four hours in the name of doing good for others than a Mississippi State bulldog?

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