Salvation Army Bell Ringers Harassed, Abused In Lawton

Tuesday, December 14th 2010, 12:43 pm
By: News 9

LAWTON, Oklahoma -- Some Salvation Army bell ringers in Oklahoma have said they are being verbally and even physically abused by shoppers this holiday season.

The Lawton Constitution reported bell ringers have been insulted, yelled at, cursed at, and even kicked. Some workers quit rather than put up with the abuse. Capt. Ernie Hull with the Salvation Army said the situation was getting so bad, it prompted him to issue a press release.

"There's no reason for cursing or racial slurs," said Hull. "I've lived with rude comments for many years, but this year just hit a nerve like never before."

Hull said volunteer and paid bell ringers are told not to ask for donations. They're instructed to greet shoppers and wish them a Merry Christmas. Hull said it although Salvation Army donations have increased, he believes worries over the economy may be causing the bad behavior.

"The nasty comments have gotten out of hand. It could be the economic downtown, but when has taking it out on others helped anything?"