When Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint opened a few years back, Gabby Olko was among the opening staff. Her hard work and charm helped establish the bar as a favorite watering hole and guilty pleasure. After she finished school at JMU she moved out to California, where she’s currently a student at Yo San University studying Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She works part-time. She rides a scooter. She has no medical insurance.
One day she wrecked on the scooter and while briefly hospitalized some routine tests showed she had a mass on her brain. Many tests followed, and the doctors determined it needed to be removed. She has no medical insurance.
So, she started a GoFundMe campaign to attempt raising $25,000 to cover the expenses and she prepared for an operation.
Friends, former co-workers, and just plain TOTALLY AWESOME people currently working at Jack Brown’s decided to set a date in which they would all donate their tips to Gabby’s fund. Aaron Ludwig, co-owner of Jack Brown’s, was moved by their dedication and offered to match their collective donation. They set up a Facebook event and spread the word.
As chance would have it, Gabby had her surgery on the exact day/night of the fundraiser. So, while she was rolling into an operation in California, a bunch of people were rolling into Jack Brown’s. Some remember Gabby from the early days, or the couple times she’s come back to visit and guest bartend. Some have no idea who she is.
It started early in the day. A To-Go order with a $50 tip. A guy who randomly visits Jack Brown’s for the first time and leaves a $50 tip. Every time they clanged the big triangle (which they do when they receive a big tip) the whole place would light up with cheers. Later at night a young girl that never knew Gabby, probably a JMU student, offered to give $100 if other people in the bar would match it. Within 30 seconds the money was matched; so with JB’s match that $100 became $400 for Gabby. In seconds.
It was a beautiful scene. The kindheartedness of strangers. The love and dedication of friends. The genuine thrill of doing something for someone else, together. It was a great night. By closing time in Harrisonburg, Gabby’s operation was over and she spent the night resting and slowly recovering. The next morning her GoFundMe site received the donation from Harrisonburg.
Customers of Jack Brown’s, five servers at Jack Brown’s, and Jack Brown himself gave Gabby Olko $8,270 to help cover her medical expenses…in one day. In addition, the ol’ donation bucket at the bar campaign had also raised $623. So, in total, Harrisonburg raised $8,893.
Which is just beautiful. It doesn’t cover all of her expenses, but it’s definitely a big helping hand from the Friendly City.
If you would like to contribute to Gabby’s campaign, please click here. The world will be a better place for it.