Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Christmas Bell Lady

I moved to Phoenix in the summer of 2004.  When Christmas time came around that year I began reading about a local lady who moved around Phoenix leaving little silver bells for people to find.  She left them on park benches, in the bows of trees, on front doors and anywhere someone might find that bell.  The bell was meant to signify love and hope and inspiration and lighten the heart of anyone fortunate enough to come across one of these little symbols of love.  I remember people in town were actively going around looking for them.

I had read somewhere that this lady was inspired to do this by a personal kindness extended to her when she was sad and distraught.  As I remember the lady was participating in a "Secret Santa" gift exchange.  The lady was excited to participate because she loved to see the one who she gifted, and anonymously see that person's reaction to her chosen gift.

Apparently, and sadly, the lady was the only one that day who received no gift at all.  While she was joyous at witnessing the joy she brought to the recipient of her gift, she was a bit sad and disappointed that the person who had drawn her name did not even think of sending a note, in the absence of sending a gift.

Then, a few days later she received a small package, accompanied by a note.  Within the package was a little silver bell.  The gift and the note came from someone who had witnessed her angst and lack of a Secret Santa present.  The note said something about wanting her to know that someone cares...and offering her support as a "secret angel".

This small act of kindness prompted our lady to begin spreading hope and love in the form of little silver bells.  Those little bells certainly intrigued alot of people around here.  I remember one lady approaching me in an Albertson's Supermarket during the Christmas a few years ago.  She approached me and said "I'd like to give you a Christmas kiss"...I was taken aback for a few seconds and couldn't voice a response...she then extended her hand and gave me a Hershey's candy kiss.  I smiled, took her candy and asked her if she was related to the "Silver Bell lady".  She said she didn't know her but knew of her and had found her own way of generating a smile.

A couple of years ago I spent Christmas at my daughter's house in Pennsylvania so didn't hear of the Silver Bell lady that year.  No word from her last year either.  A few days ago I began googling news of the Silver Bell lady and have found nothing.  I just wrote a local newspaper columnist who once did a story on the sweet lady, to ask about her current whereabouts.  I fear the Silver Bell lady has passed to a better place.

Better for her, but not for us....we need all the secret angels we can get these days.

Note To my Phoenix readers:  If you know what happened to the Silver Bell lady please write and let me know.

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