Friday, November 23, 2012

Ringing the Salvation Army bell in fire gear helps

   The sight of a firefighter in full firefighting gear, sans helmet that is, standing next to a red Salvation Army pot and ringing a bell certainly wasn’t new to K-Mart shoppers one evening during holiday shopping season several years ago. Each year volunteers including citizens and other civic club representatives lent a hand manning one of several such collection sites throughout Des Plaines, IL.

   Our Fire Chief stepped up that year to help out, and was mid-shift doing his part for the needy and as part of his own holiday tradition of helping others, when a late model Lexus pulled up at the front of the store – in a spot clearly marked “No Parking” and “Fire Zone”. The driver, obviously in a hurry and planning to just ‘run in and out’, left the car running with a passenger riding shotgun as he gingerly trotted around the rear of the car and stepped up on the sidewalk.

   The Fire Chief stood there in full gear ringing his bell dutifully with his left hand and quickly raised his right hand and said in a loud fireground voice, “Hey! Don't you see me standing right here?” The driver, who by that time had already passed him and was approaching the door, said “Hah?” and quickly stopped and spun around to see the Chief ringing and pointing.

   “Oh, sorry about that,” he added as he turned and quickly moved toward the Chief and deposited a few dollars into the Salvation Army bucket, then turned and bolted into the store.

   I’m not sure if the same thing happened again or not that evening, but reports are that the Chief DID end up with an uncharacteristically successful shift.

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