To give back to the organization that saved his life, kettle bell ringer spreads warm tidings of joy

Kettle bell ringer spreads joy by giving back to organization that saved his life

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - You can hear the jingle from across the parking garage.

“He’s got energy. A lot of energy,” said a shopper named Beverly.

Outside the Walmart on Keeaumoku Street, Edward Gaines was busy doing what he does best.

“Mahalo! Merry Christmas,” he told a woman as she slipped a few dollars into his bright red kettle.

It’s a job the Salvation Army kettle bell ringer doesn’t take lightly.

The 69-year-old works five days a week, from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., collecting donations for those in need of a hand up.

It’s a position he can relate to.

“I found myself face down in the gutter in Harlem, New York and the Salvation Army was there,” said Gaines. “I was homeless. Everything. A drug addict. Alcoholic. Without reservations they picked me up.”

That was more than a decade ago. Today, he’s sober and living in an apartment he shares with his wife.

“Now it’s my turn to give back to society, for what they’ve done for me,” he said.

This makes Edward’s 11th year working as a kettle bell ringer. He is so popular among businesses in Honolulu that the Salvation Army often gets special requests to have him bell ring outside their stores.

“I have a love for this,” said Gaines.

For him “doing the most good” means spreading joy and lending a sympathetic ear — in a place you might least expect it.

“If you need to I’m here for you. OK. I’ll be here for you,” he said.

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