Andrew Dys

Rock Hill girl, 9, rings Salvation Army bell while dancing

Most people who shopped this holiday season might have seen Salvation Army bell ringers outside stores and malls. But Abby Ross is a little different from most bell ringers.

She volunteered her time Thursday and Friday. She danced while she rang the bell. She sang Christmas carols – one even in Spanish.

And she wore braces on her teeth. Abby Ross is just 9 years old.

“I just wanted to do something for those kids out there who might not have a Christmas like I will have,” Abby said. “I wanted to help people.”

So Abby, a fourth-grader from Rock Hill who attends Gaston Day School in Gastonia, N.C, asked her parents, Bill and Myra Ross, about ringing the Salvation Army bell so that people might fill that red kettle.

“We said it was a great idea,” Dad said. “Doing something to help out others, we will always encourage that.”

So at the Hobby Lobby store near the Rock Hill Galleria, Abby danced. She hopped and she told people “Merry Christmas!” with a smile that beamed whether the person walking by stuffed money in that kettle or not.

So many did.

People went out of the way to give. Through the glass windows of the store, people in line buying gifts laughed and smiled and kept cash in hand to drop in the kettle on the way out.

Some people gave money and came back to give more money. People in the parking lot told others about the dancing bell ringer, and groups came back in to give even more money.

Joy Mattice, one of the Salvation Army workers who takes kettles to stores and picks them up, saw the bucket Abby had been dancing and singing around and echoed what so many others had said: “You are great!”

Abby did two-hour stretches of ringing the bell. Some people stopped and took cellphone videos. Some took pictures. All smiled and gave money so some other child somewhere might get to have a Christmas.

Abby Ross, singing and dancing almost the whole time, thanked them all.