Hitting the COVID-19 Jackpot

Individuals and small businesses all over America have been hit hard by the COVID-19 epidemic. Some have been fortunate enough to receive financial support from people sympathetic to their plight.

Shelley Luther hit the jackpot.


Salon owner Shelley Luther after she was released from jail in Dallas, May 7, 2020.

The Dallas, TX owner of Salon à la Mode was arrested for opening her business despite COVID-19 restrictions. A GoFundMe page to help her went live on April 23, 2020, the day before her arrest.

“Shelley Luther is an American Hero that has decided to resist tyranny by opening her business against an unlawful State Executive Order,” read the description for the Shelly Luther Fund campaign.

A Texan, Rick Hire, says the Woke Patriots organization is behind the campaign. In a 30-minute May 9  YouTube video, Hire says he founded the organization to deal with challenges to constitutional rights and the group picked Luther to be the first beneficiary of a GoFundMe campaign.

The GoFundMe page was a hit right out of the gate. When an initial goal of $250,000 was rapidly surpassed, the goal was raised to $500,000. The total raised now sits at $500,040 and the window for donations has closed.

Most of the contributions have been well under $100, but some big givers have stepped up, too. Dan Patrick, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, gave the most, $7,500, to cover Luther’s court-imposed fines.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott allowed personal care service facilities like salons to resume operations on May 8, so the restriction that spurred Luther’s protest is no longer in place. But the brief tempest made Luther $500,040 richer. Not only can she spend the money pretty much however she wants, but it may not even be taxable income.

Luther says she wants to spread her newfound wealth to those who need it. That probably won’t include the people who work at her salon. On May 3, Luther was approved for a government loan under the Paycheck Protection Program. The entire loan can be forgiven in full if at least 75 percent of it is used to pay her employee’s salaries.

What a deal!

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