A legally blind Salvation Army volunteer bell ringer in New York was allegedly attacked by a couple while he was waiting on line at a restaurant during his lunch break.
One of the alleged attackers reportedly even used the Salvation Army red kettle as a weapon against the victim.
As one news outlet put it (see video embedded below), the bell ringer had his bell rung.
As you are probably aware, Salvation Army bell ringers stand outside stores and other high-traffic locations and accept cash donations (usually in the form of spare change) for the charitable organization from passersby and shoppers during the Christmas season.
The disturbing incident occurred at the perhaps unintentionally ironic-named Smashburger fast-food restaurant in White Plains on Saturday.
Authorities deemed it a brutal and vicious assault.
The New York Daily News explained what happened in the confrontation.
“Police said the 41-year-old bell ringer was on his break and waiting for food Saturday at a Tarrytown Road Smashburger with Juan Rodriguez, 30, and Audrianna Wignal, 21, when Rodriguez accused the victim of cutting the line. After an enraged Rodriguez punched the bell ringer and knocked him to the ground, he straddled the victim and continued to hit him in the head while Wignal kicked him, police said. Rodriguez then picked up the Salvation Army kettle and threw it at the blind man, hitting him in the head, cops said.”
Pole arrested both suspects, who reportedly have previous criminals records, at the restaurant for misdemeanor assault, and they bonded out on Sunday after their arraignment. The male suspect was rearrested the following day on an upgraded felony assault charge.
Jermaine Simmons, the victim in the altercation who suffered a broken nose and a broken orbital bone, told NBC News New York that “He swung his right hand at me real hard — so hard that I dropped the bucket. I was seeing blood that was coming out of my nose my head and even my eye…He did hit me in the head with the bucket. I told him I was pressing charges — he just laughed and said no big thing.” He was treated at White Plains Hospital and released.
“It remains unclear whether Simmons cut the line — or if the pair mistakenly believed that he had,” the Daily Mail noted.
Cops are still investigating the incident involving the assault on the Salvation Army bell ringer.
Smashburger is a fast casual restaurant that operates about 300 eateries in 32 states and five countries.
On a more positive note, instead of spare change or a dollar bill, a beyond-generous Minneapolis couple dropped a $500,000 donation check into a Salvation Army kettle on November 28 outside a suburban grocery store. Salvation Army kettles are said to take in about $30 an hour on average.
According to the Salvation Army website, “The Red Kettle Christmas Campaign enables The Salvation Army to provide food, toys and clothing to over 6 million people during the Christmas season and helps more than 34 million Americans recovering from all kinds of personal disasters nationwide.”
Volunteer bell ringers man the Salvation Army Red Kettles across the country in the fundraising campaign which started in 1891.
In an unrelated incident, but where the Christmas spirit was sorely and similarly lacking, a knife-wielding man dressed up as Santa Claus climbed in via the drive-thru window rather than the chimney and robbed a KFC restaurant in England.
[Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images]