Salvation Army bell-ringer assaulted for saying 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas'

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Some might call it the "December Debate." Do you greet people with "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays?" An Arizona woman, who's also a bell ringer for the Salvation Army, says she was assaulted for choosing the wrong one.

Kristina Vindiola says a woman hit her outside a Phoenix Walmart after she said "Happy Holidays."

"The lady looked at me," said Vindiola. "I thought she was going to put money in the kettle. She came up to me and said, 'Do you believe in God?' And she says, ‘You're supposed to say Merry Christmas,' and that's when she hit me."

Vindiola says the woman hit her in the arm and then went inside the store. She told a manager who then called police. Shoppers that Scripps sister station ABC15 spoke with said they understand how some people can get offended.

"I've finally gotten used to 'Happy Holidays' and it's a ‘Happy Holiday' or a ‘Merry Christmas,' I'm good with either one," said one woman.

Another, who works for a public school district told ABC15 she says "‘Merry Christmas' to most people. At work when I'm sending emails and to be politically correct it's ‘Happy Holidays' because we're supposed to."

A third shopper pointed to her faith as to why she says "Merry Christmas."

"I'm a Christian," she said, "and that is what it means to me, you know it's a celebration of Christ's birth."

Apparently, not everyone agrees with that and the bell ringer who said she was assaulted now plans to take legal action.

"She should've just been happy I said 'Happy Holidays,' but I got hit because I didn't say 'Merry Christmas,'" Vindiola said.

The Salvation Army says it doesn't have a policy as to what its bell ringers should say, they can say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays."

Phoenix police looked at surveillance video but didn't have enough evidence to arrest the woman accused in the assault.

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