TAMPA — Summer Moll arrived to the party in style, riding in the front seat of a red 1949 Mack fire truck. A smile on her face, she rang the truck's bell while her grandmother controlled the siren.
Soon after pulling into the parking lot at The Salon & Spa at Mystic Hair, where dozens volunteered Sunday to raise money for Summer, the 5-year-old girl was ready for another ride.
"Her eyes lit up, and she had the biggest smile," said driver Jace Kohan, a captain with Tampa Fire Rescue.
Outside the salon, firefighters served pulled pork sandwiches and a band entertained the crowd. Inside, 26 stylists and spa employees gave discounted haircuts, facials and massages to about 130 people. An estimated $11,000 was raised for Summer's trust fund.
The little girl suffered a fractured skull in a September car accident that police say a drunken driver caused. Her mother, Jennifer O'Boyle, died in the wreck.
"All these people coming out, it shows that seven months down the road they haven't forgotten," said Summer's father, Josh Moll, who moved to Tampa from Texas after the crash.
Summer spent the day mingling in the crowd and touring the salon, at 13801 N Dale Mabry Highway. She even helped sell lemonade.
Despite numerous operations on her head wound and daily trips to therapy, Summer remains in good spirits, said her grandmother, Tammy Rosian.
"Look at that smile on her face," she said. "Everything she's been through, and look at her."
The fundraiser also gave Rosian a chance to finally get her hair cut the way she likes it, something she hasn't been able to do since taking over as Summer's caregiver after the wreck.
Hairstylist Josie Ehlers said it was "humbling" to cut Rosian's hair and spend the day around Summer. The fundraiser's proceeds will help cover special needs Summer might encounter growing up.
"I hope she gets a chance to live as normal a life as possible," Ehlers said. "I love to see that she still has joy on her face."
As for Summer's favorite part of the day: "The fire truck," she said. "I like ringing the bell."
Kevin Smetana can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 661-2439.