Musician uses Facebook Live to raise money for out of work restaurant servers

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Barry Lawrence. Photo via WINK News

A Fort Myers Beach musician is earning money by performing online—but the money isn’t to help him get through these rough times…he’s paying it forward to the out-of-work servers he knows.

Friday nights at 6 p.m. Barry Lawrence transforms his backyard into a musical getaway.

For the past 3.5 years, he’s performed every weekend at Sunset Grill on Fort Myers Beach—until COVID-19 forced them to close their doors.

“It was really tough and a shock to everybody,” said Lawrence.

But as they say—the show must go on. In this case on Facebook Live.

“About four or five weeks ago I just did it to see how it’d go over and I had over a thousand views,” said Lawrence.

The viewers started pouring in and so did the money.

“I just decided to get people to do Venmo or PayPal to tip me,” said Lawrence.

He’s made 950 dollars so far, but despite the recent changes in his own life—that money isn’t for him.

“I definitely cried like four times just I couldn’t even believe it,” said Hannah Smith, who was recently let go from her server job.

It’s for servers like Smith, who is a young mother who hasn’t received tips here in weeks.

“It’s just so touching to think someone’s even thinking of you out there like that,” said Smith.

A time of separation is bringing people closer together more than ever.

“If I can do something little just something little to help out that’s what I’m gonna do,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence says he’ll continue to perform and raise money every Friday night until things get back to normal. His next show is this Friday at 6 p.m.

If you would like to watch you can find the link to his Facebook page here.

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