A Salvation Army bell ringer in California had been beaten in front of a Walmart because he wanted to spread joy this holiday season.
Rev. Jamie Wolfe Sr., the man ringing the bell, told CBS Sacramento that he says “Merry Christmas” to everyone who passes by his donation bucket, but one Grinch managed to knock the joy out of him.
“He haymakered me, hit me, got me down on the ground and we started wrestling, at that point I’m fighting for my life,” Wolfe Sr. said.
The suspect allegedly carried out the unprovoked attack not for the money, but for his cheer.
“Store says they love him and he’s been the best bell ringer they’ve ever had, so an attack that’s unprovoked is very surprising and very unfortunate. It’s not the call we’d expect to get at night,” or ever said Lt. Steve Pavlakis with the Salvation Army.
Pavlakis, who worked with the organization for 14 years, says he has not seen anything like this.
“It’s really saddening that one of our bell horingers would be out there working day after day for us that’s met with hate and punches to the face and kicks to the face,” Pavlakis said.
Wolfe Sr. suffered a few bumps and bruises in the scuffle, but he says nothing would take away his Christmas spirit.
“It’s really rewarding,” Wolfe Sr. said. “I’ll be right back out there doing it again tomorrow.”
The suspected attacker is still on the lam, but police hope to find him with the aid of surveillance footage.
Sadly, this is not the first time a passerby has waged violence against a Salvation Army bell ringer around the holidays.
In 2015, a man kicked, punched, and threw a donation bucket at a blind Salvation Army bell ringer in Greenburgh, New York, outside a Smashburger.
In 2013, a woman punched a Salvation Army bell ringer outside an Arizona Walmart for saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”