People have asked me why I volunteered to be a Coordinator for Toys for Tots. The following occurred a couple of weeks before Christmas of 2013.
The four of us, members of the Annapolis Marine Corps League (MCL) Detachment but in very civilian attire, were crossing US Route 450 Road, from Annapolis Mall to the Toys“R”Us Store where we were to set up a Toys for Tots collection box. Our Detachment was not a Toys for Tots LCO but the four of us wanted to help. So, we were going to collect toys at the Toys“R”Us store for 4 or 5 hours. As we crossed the road, we noticed a young boy whose appearance caught our eye.
He was dressed in layers of torn and tattered clothing, and his face and hands were covered with dirt. The four of us continued our way to the store front, and as we did, the little boy smiled and waved at us.
Once in the store, we were taken to different posts. The three MCL members that accompanied me were directed by the Store Manager to stand by the front door to distribute the Toys for Tots brochures that we had brought with us. I was directed to stand by the huge metal collection bin, maybe 3 1/2 feet square by 5 feet high, that was by the exit doors. My job was to thank people who purchased toys to donate to Toys for Tots and dropped them in the collection bin on their way out of the store.
The store opened at 10 AM and the first customer was none other than the little boy we’d seen earlier. I could see the entrance from where I stood, and I saw him enter.
The young child walked up and down almost every isle until he came to a row where the very small and inexpensive toys were located. He reached up and took a small doll, list price $5.99, off its shelf and then carried it to the check- out line where he purchased it with an assortment of coins.
After purchasing the small toy, he walked over to the metal collection bin, and he dropped the toy in the basket. He then looked at me and said, “I had hoped I could have gotten a better toy, but I don’t have any more money. Maybe it will make a better Christmas for some kid. Maybe!” He then turned and started to walk out of the store but stopped just before the exit door and turned and said, looking at me, “Merry Christmas and Semper Fi.”