Just days after the Salvation Army's annual Red Kettle campaign started in Mishawaka, Indiana, a generous Samartian dropped a rare coin into the kettle.
Bell ringer George Shell discovered a 1904 $20 gold piece in his kettle at the end of his shift at the local Sam's Club. The coin is worth $1,800.
The coin was wrapped in a white fortune that quoted William Booth, Salvation Army's founder: "Work as if everything depended upon work and pray as if everything depended on prayer."
WSBT-TV reports that it's the third straight year someone has dropped a valuable coin in a Mishawaka kettle.
Shell, who has been a bell ringer for 30 years, shared with WBMD the highlights of the position:
"Well you got to smile, make people happy, and they want to know the bell ringers are there to make people happy and smile. Bring something back for the holiday season because the Salvation Army's been out for a long, long time and I love working with them, they're real good to me," said Shull.
In Houston, Texas, a gold coin wrapped in a dollar bill with a note that read "A child is born, Jesus!" turned up in a kettle.
"Even though it is a significant monetary donation, it's so much more significant in the motivation it gives our kettle workers," Juan Alanis, Salvation Army spokesman for the Houston area, told the Houston Chronicle. "It lets them know that what they're doing is for a purpose and people actually believe in what they're doing out there every day."
Last year, three gold coins and a diamond ring were found in Houston-area kettles.
Salvation Army officials believe the gold coins are donated by the same person every year.
"It always comes with the same message on a note that's wrapped in a dollar bill," Alanis said.