Blind Salvation Army bell ringer charms shoppers with serenade

Pooja Lodhia Image
Friday, November 30, 2018
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Salvation Army bell ringer charms shoppers with voice.

TOMBALL, Texas (KTRK) -- Amid the sounds of traffic jams and shopping carts, we all know the holiday season can be stressful.

But one volunteer is making shoppers at Hobby Lobby in Tomball appreciate the holiday spirit.

"I'm supposed to be slinging the bell but I'm slinging my voice," said Bill Johnson.

Ten years ago, a wreck left Johnson blind in both eyes and barely able to walk.

He needed help.

"I found myself at one point homeless and the Salvation Army has been a strong arm for me," he explained. "I said if I ever got a better opportunity, I'd do my best to go back and volunteer as well."

After years of volunteering with the Salvation Army, Johnson decided to start singing.

He never learned to sing. He believes some talent just comes naturally.

"I recently started singing in the shower. About a year ago, singing in the shower and just rolled out to this," Johnson said. "I can't say I'm ready for an album or anything but I'm making some people happy."

Johnson doesn't take request from shoppers. He just sings one genre of music. But he knows what his fans like.

"I've got one lady, I don't know her name to save my life but I hear her voice and I know she is here," he said. "She says, 'I'm here again just to hear you sing,' and she comes out religiously almost every day."

It turns out, you don't have to see to feel.

"I can't just sit at the house and just do nothing. You feel like you're already in a box with the loss of vision," said Johnson. "I'm still here. As long as I got breath, I'm going to be useful in some capacity."

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