Help from above: Florida bar pulls dollar bills from ceiling to help injured bartender

Tayton O’Brians in New Smyrna Beach assists Elena Bradner

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – After more than a decade, a unique part of Tayton O’Brians Irish pub in New Smyrna Beach is coming down -- literally dollar by dollar to help someone in need.

Over the years, hundreds, maybe even thousands, of $1 bills have been stapled to the pub’s ceiling.

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“We haven’t taken any down (until now) and it was just a very tourist thing to do. It was saying you were part of Tayton O’Brians, that you were here to visit. People do it every time they come down,” said Brian Pemrick, owner of Tayton O’Brians.

On February 7, one of the pub’s bartenders, 25-year-old Elena Bradner, was on her way to a doctor’s appointment when she was injured in a crash involving a semitruck on Interstate 95.

“She’s absolutely family. She’s worked for us for years,” Pemrick said. “We called her immediately (and got) no answer. My wife drove up I-95, found the Jeep totaled and rolled.”

Pemrick said Bradner suffered several broken bones.

“Two shoulders, six ribs, clavicle, toe, nose and her entire spine. I think anybody else wouldn’t survive, but she -- it’s Elena and she’s strong,” he said.

As a gesture of support and to help out with medical expenses, the pub is donating all of the money from the ceiling to Elena, whom Pemrick said is a New Smyrna Beach native and well-known in the community.

“It’s first time (to pull the money off the ceiling), so it’s kind of -- for us, it’s a lot of history, it’s a lot of our customers with all their memories,” he said. “She is a part of the restaurant, so we’re just giving back. Everybody’s come together. I mean, the amount of emails and phone calls that my wife and I have gotten has been unbelievable. It’s crazy how one person has reached so many people like that.”

On Sunday, a benefit event with music and raffles will be held for Bradner at the pub. The event takes place from 2-8 p.m.

About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.