Bar Owner Pays Unemployed Staff with Money Attached to Walls and Ceiling

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. close its doors / kloʊz ɪts dɔrz / (idiom) – to stop the operations of a business

    The oldest restaurant in the city closed its doors because of bankruptcy.

  2. put (something) to good use / pʊt tʊ gʊd yus / (idiom) – to use something for a good purpose

    I put my drawing skills to good use by becoming an art teacher.

  3. altruism / ˈæl truˌɪz əm / (n) – a desire to help others

    The manager donated half of her salary as an act of altruism.

  4. optimistic / ˌɒp təˈmɪs tɪk / (adj) – to be positive or confident about something

    With their strict training, the athletes are optimistic that they’ll win the tournament.

  5. patron / ˈpeɪ trən / (n) – a regular customer or client of a store, restaurant, etc.

    The hotel’s patrons are mostly celebrities and politicians.


Read the text below.

A bar owner in Georgia paid her currently unemployed staff using money that was stapled to her bar’s walls and ceiling.

According to Jennifer Knox, owner of The Sand Bar in Tybee Island, customers had been leaving their mark on the establishment by writing notes on bills and stapling them to the bar’s walls and ceiling for almost 15 years.

Last March, The Sand Bar had to close its doors because of the coronavirus outbreak, leaving her business and employees in a financial struggle. After much thought, she decided to put the money her customers had left over the years to good use.

It took Knox and some volunteers more than three days to remove all the money from the bar’s walls and ceiling. She said that while removing the money was an emotional process, she enjoyed reading the messages, which were mostly written by customers who were celebrating special occasions.

In the end, the group was able to gather $3,714. After hearing about Knox’s act of altruism, some customers also donated to the cause, bringing the total amount to $4,104. Knox gave the bar’s employees $600 each.

After the successful donation, Knox decided to raise money not just for her employees but also for other struggling workers in the area. Knox was able to collect $2,000 for this initiative in two weeks.

Knox is optimistic that her bar will reopen once the pandemic is over. The Sand Bar’s interior was recently repainted, covering all parts where the money had been removed from. Currently, Knox is thinking of a new way for patrons to leave their mark on the bar.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Would you have paid unemployed staff in the same way that Knox did? Why or why not?
• Aside from using it to pay the employees, in what other ways could the money have been used (e.g. renovations, business expansion)? Discuss.

Discussion B

• If you were the owner of an establishment, would you also like customers to leave their mark? If yes, how? Explain.
• How else can customers leave their mark on an establishment (e.g. draw or paint on its walls)? Discuss.