The Heartbreaking Reason This Bar Owner Removed All The Money From The Walls

A lot of bars like to decorate with patron-donated items, ranging from license plates to neckties to dollar bills. One such spot is the Sand Bar on Georgia's Tybee Island, where customers have, for the past 15 years or so, been putting their John Hancock on George Washington's face and then stapling the bills to the walls.

Bar owner Jennifer Knox, who bought the place six years ago, appreciated the history behind this custom, and she kept the tradition going when she took over. Over the past few weeks, however, the bar has been closed for business, as have most other bars (the law-abiding ones, at any rate), since many are unable to offer takeout or delivery during the coronavirus pandemic. 

When Knox found herself with time on her hands, she decided there was no time like the present to give the bar a makeover — one that would involve taking all the dollar bills down off the walls. Did she do it just so she could show off a new coat of paint? No, the reason for the Sand Bar's new look is actually a far more altruistic one.

The money went to pay her out-of-work staffers

As Knox told Fox 28 Media, she just "... felt this sense of urgency to get these dollars down and into the hands of those who need it." With the help of volunteers, she spent three days taking down the dollars — all $3,714 of them — and combined the proceeds with an additional $390 in donations she'd received through Venmo (via WTOC). The proceeds were divided up amongst her now out-of-work staffers, four bartenders and two musicians. Each of them received about $600, which is certainly needed just now when times are tough for so many people. 

As Knox put it, "There was not a more perfect time to give back to my people." Employee Lydia Clark agreed, exclaiming, "That will pay my rent!"

While Knox has no plans to redecorate the Sand Bar with new dollar bills once they reopen, she promises she'll find another way to let patrons feel as if they are part of the bar and to keep up what she sees as the Sand Bar's mission of keeping the community together.