Each year, Salvation Army volunteers brave blistering cold weather in cities around the U.S. and in Ontario. The volunteers are known for standing outside stores or in other public locations and ringing a bell, encouraging passerby to donate to the nonprofit organization during the holiday season. The volunteers are recognized for their dedication as well as their tenacity for withstanding the elements in order to raise money for a worthy cause.
One Salvation Army bell ringer, however, was recently attacked while on a volunteer shift outside of a Walmart store in Arizona.
Granted, Phoneix, Ariz. is probably one of the nicer locations to be an outdoors Salvation Army bell ringer, but that doesn’t make the assault on Arizona volunteer Kristina Vindiola any less significant.
According to the International Business Times, Vindiola was assaulted after wishing a woman entering the Walmart “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.”
Vindiola recounted her story to WCPO Cincinnati.
“The lady looked at me. I thought she was going to put money in the kettle. She came up to me and said, ‘Do you believe in God?’ And she says, ‘You’re supposed to say Merry Christmas,’ and that’s when she hit me.”
After the attack, the woman allegedly entered the store and began shopping. Vindiola reported the attack to a manager of the Walmart store, who called the police. After watching surveillance video, the police were unable to gather enough evidence to arrest the woman involved in the incident.
The Salvation Army is a Christian-based organization but reportedly allows its bell-ringers to say either "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays."