BALD HEAD ISLAND, N.C. (WECT) - Thousands of decorated dollar bills have been tacked to the walls of Mojo’s on the Harbor on Bald Head Island over the past eight years.
The owners, employees, and regulars worked all day Monday to strip the money from the walls as the owners prepared to sell the restaurant. However, they did not plan to pocket the cash.
“Every single one of these dollars tells a story for somebody," said Mojo’s owner Andrea Pitera. “Some for Brooke, some for other friends, and it really is special that they all have something to tell."
Each dollar represents a moment in time; declarations of love or loss written on dollar bills were pinned, tacked or nailed to pretty much any space available.
The legacy started with a man named Brooke Williams.
“He would have the most wonderful story to tell you," said owner John Pitera. "Brooke was a story teller, and a very funny man,”
When Pitera and his wife opened Mojo’s in 2011, Brooke gave them their first dollar for luck and the gesture quickly caught on.
Williams would never live to see how successful Mojo’s would be.
He was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and that’s when the wall became “Brooke’s Wall.”
He passed away the following year, but Brooke’s Wall kept growing.
“The dollar bills create a means for conversation and the number of people who have sat at the table and cried and told me about their experiences with a loved one who has had pancreatic cancer or another cancer and it’s special. And I get to talk about him, he was a dear friend, and I get to talk about him almost every single day and remember all the wonderful times we had,” Andrea said.
As the wall grew, the Piteras knew when it came time to sell the restaurant, they would take all the dollar bills down and donate them in honor of their friend.
“So that’s what we’re doing," Andrea said. “It’s the end of our reign at Mojo’s and on Bald Head actually and it’s the end of our owning the restaurant and being here and it’s our opportunity to do something wonderful for other people and it’s important to us and it’s important to everybody who has put up a dollar bill.”
All those dollar bills together are the equivalent to at least 17,000 stories and at least $17,000 to be donated to Duke Hospital for Pancreatic Cancer Research.
Even though it has been years since he’s passed, it seems Brooke’s story wasn’t over.
As for his original dollar bill, the Piteras gave it back to his wife and their dear friend to keep.