We are learning more about the confrontation between a bell ringer for the Salvation Army and a man police say was drunk and belligerent.
Bruce James Littlejohn, 57, is accused of spitting at the bell ringer and has been charged with harassment, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
That woman, identified by court papers as Monica Robert, was shaken but not hurt and was back on the job today.
“She’s got a great personality and a great smile and was back to work undaunted today,” says Jim Brennan who is the coordinator for the Red Kettle campaign.
Court papers detail what she says happened at 3 o’clock Saturday afternoon.
Witnesses say Bruce Littlejohn was drinking alcohol from a sports bottle and attempted to urinate on the wall outside of Sears at Eastview Mall in Victor. When bystanders stopped him, she says he became angry.
“I could tell he’d been drinking. He was staggering when he walked,” according to a police statement signed by Monica Robert. “I hoped he would just walk by and leave me alone.”
“He became very belligerent and when she tried to go get mall security he tried to body block her to prevent her from getting the security guard,” explained Brennan.
Brennan says Littlejohn first announced he was going to spit at her, and that allowed her time to turn her head to protect her face. It’s alleged he did spit at her, which struck her jacket.
“Things happen, but that doesn’t mean everyone is like that,” said Shelly Guster. This is her third year as a full-time bell ringer. She sings Christmas songs to the hundreds of people she greets every day and has never had a problem.
“They just get into the spirit once they see someone smiling out here,” she explained.
The Salvation Army says incidents like this are so rare no one can remember another in recent years. Safety is not an issue for bell ringers or volunteers.
The red kettles are padlocked. Ringers are trained not to confront unruly people, but to walk away and seek out store security, which is what occurred Saturday.
Police say it is the second time in two months Littlejohn has been arrested for being highly intoxicated. Last month he was arrested outside his Victor home for violating probation. He will return to court next week.
Littleton may be under arrest, but he is also understood by the agency that helps so many through difficult times. “The holidays are a time of great joy but for a lot of people they are also a time of great loneliness,” Brennan said.
“There’s no ill feelings (sic) toward this gentleman. In fact we wish him and his family well.”