Bell Ringer Beaten After Wishing Man ‘Merry Christmas’

ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — A Salvation Army bell ringer was attacked in front of Walmart for simply spreading holiday cheer.

We’ve all heard it; the jingle that means it’s nearly Christmas and ringing in sounds of hope for donations.

But not everyone is in the giving spirit.

“I greet everybody, 'Merry Christmas,'” said Rev. Jamie Wolfe, Sr.

Sadly, those two simple words got this bell ringer knocked out.

“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 man wasn’t after the kettle money, but instead, his cheer.

“Definitely unexpected,” he claimed.

It was a savage attack — not even a Grinch could compare.

“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 has been with the organization for 14 years, and this hasn’t happened.

“It’s really saddening that one of our bellringers 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.

The reverend is shaken up and suffered bumps and bruises, but says this won’t ever take away his Christmas spirit.

“It’s really rewarding,” he said.

And you can bet that bell will keep on ringing.

“I’ll be right back out there doing it again tomorrow,” Wolfe Sr. said.

He was checked out at Kaiser Permanente just in case.

Meanwhile, the suspect is still on the run. Police hope surveillance video can help put that man behind bars.