A Child’s Gift


When downtown Macy’s closed, the volunteer Christmas kettle ringers of The Salvation Army’s Metro Advisory Board had to find a new location. The front doors of Lenox Mall became the spot. It was different from Peachtree Street: fashionable dress, valet parking and maybe, just maybe, more generous shoppers.

As I was urging a group exiting their car, I noticed a family approaching behind me. Handsome people, well-dressed parents with a five year old son and a seven-ish daughter. Targeted toward me, each child came with a bill clutched in a fist. Good momma and poppa, I thought, bringing them up right. After each had placed their treasure precisely in the kettle slot, they ran to join their parents at the door. I wished them all a Merry Christmas. The little girl — surely by now one of Atlanta’s great beauties — ran back to me, hugged me around the waist and dashed back to her family.

That, I thought, is deserving of an entry to Vent, the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s then-friendly public comment column. The thought passed.  To my surprise, four days later, the Vent told my story. Had someone witnessed the event and put action to my thoughts? Or was there an army of seven-year-olds out there melting the hearts of aging bell-ringers?

-Written by Jim Montgomery, a dedicated Salvation Army Advisory Board member and veteran bellringer!


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