I won the human connection jackpot!
Today I rang the Salvation Army Bell in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
I will admit, I wasn’t super gung-ho to do it today as I just was not having the best day.
I felt a bit sad and overwhelmed. No real reason.
I gave myself a “get it together” pep talk, placed the apron around my neck and began to ring that ever so familiar bell.
Hello! I’d say smiling to the people walking in.
Have a great afternoon! I’d say as they left the store.
Some wouldn’t even make eye contact.
They would rush by with their head down and scurry inside.
Some would greet me with a nod and a half smile.
Some would be ready with coins or cash to place in the red donation bucket.
After about 45 minutes, I found myself so in awe.
Some people would pass me by and then reverse to come tell me why they could not donate.
A gentleman had just lost his wife of 54 years.
A man in his early 30’s was trying to save up to buy his mom a replacement Mother’s ring that she lost 3 years ago.
A mom with one child on her hip and two in the cart struggled to tell me that she was just flat out overwhelmed with life and the holidays.
An elderly woman walked with a cane to her car and back to bring me exactly 5 cents that she had sitting in her car cup holder because “I had a kind face”
I realized this is just as much about the donations as it is truly looking at people and opening yourself up for conversation.
As coin after coin hit the bottom of that bucket with a “ting”, people would share themselves with me … if just for a moment.
I even was blessed enough to receive a few hugs.
One by an older woman who told me that I just looked huggable, and she could sure use one.
The hug lasted exactly 10 seconds and she grabbed my hand before she walked away thanking me.
She donated and thanked ME.
It’s easy to judge the people that scurry hurriedly passed a donation bucket.
It’s easy to assume their story and frown at their lack of heart.
But there’s a story there that you don’t know.
A story they may or may not share if you just take a moment to say hello and truly mean it.
I spent two hours ringing bells for the Salvation Army today and I honestly feel like I won the human connection lottery.
Never stop being a good human.
Never stop looking and listening.
The gifts around us are pretty darn amazing if you only take a moment to see them.