Bell ringers and red Salvation Army kettles are synonymous with this time of year. The kettles bring in about $200 on a typical day.
But after counting Friday's donation totals, the day ended up being anything but typical.
Salvation Army bell ringer, Tim Tidwell, knew right away this was no ordinary donation.
“It was a pretty thick envelope. I knew it was something special but I didn't know what,” he says.
But no one could have imagined how special.
“It was kind of heavy. It was a thank you note, and so I said to myself, ‘This is probably someone who has been helped by the Salvation Army in the past. They want to return the favor.’ I was expecting maybe a handful of quarters,” says Tidwell.
Until they saw what was inside the envelope.
What they found was a South African Krugerand.
Its estimated value is somewhere between $1,300 and $1,500.
But this isn't the first time the Salvation Army has seen this type of donation.
“I've heard, around the United States that typically gold coins will appear in kettles, really throughout the country. It's always a different place. We don't really know who the donor is or what they're motivation is for being so generous. And I don't know if this is part of that legend, or it could entirely just be out of the goodness of someone's heart that wanted to make a nice donation to the Salvation Army,” says Tidwell.
No matter the motivation, one thing's for sure, this donation is worth much more than it's weight in gold.
The donor of the gold coin wishes to remain anonymous. She left just her initials in a letter included with the coin.
In the letter, the donor says all she wanted in return was to find out the Salvation Army received the coin like she planned.