The Christmas season can bring out the best and worst in people it seems. In the case of a Salvation Army volunteer, he got the worst of the season. Police say Jermaine Simmons, 41, was beaten by a couple because they thought he had cut in front of them at a local fast food restaurant Smash Burger in White Plains, New York.
The couple identified as Juan Rodriguez, 30, and Audrianna Wigna, 21, were waiting in line for their food when they assaulted Simmons, who is legally blind and suffers from cerebral palsy. According to police and witnesses, Rodriguez punched Simmons so hard that he broke his nose and cheek. As Simmons lay bleeding on the ground, Rodriguez straddled him and continued to beat him as Wigna began kicking the blind bell ringer. Then Rodriguez took the Salvation Army donation kettle and beat Simmons with it to further add insult to his injury.
The couple was arrested at the restaurant for misdemeanor assault charges and transported to jail. Rodriguez’s bail was set at $1K, and Wigna’s bail was set at $500. Both were already on probation for other charges at the time of the assault, Rodriguez for a previous assault and Wignl for criminal mischief. Both were able to post bail but Rodriguez was rearrested and charged with an upgraded felony assault.
Despite his injuries, Simmons returned to his volunteer job as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army.