By Pat Sherman
Friends and acquaintances of a popular Bird Rock coffee house manager are rallying to aid the woman as she recovers from a traumatic accident that took her right arm and the toes of her right foot. In the early hours of Nov. 22, after a night on the town in Little Italy, 27-year-old Jocylynn Breeland and a friend were watching a train go by near the Beech Street crossing west of Kettner Boulevard. The friends then attempted to jump onto the slow-moving train, County Sheriff’s officials said.
Though Breeland’s male companion landed on the train, Breeland lost her footing and was hit by a tanker car. Breeland’s friend jumped off the car and pulled her from the tracks.
A fundraiser for Breeland will be held Saturday, Dec. 17 from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, where she was employed as manager and head of quality control. Proceeds from all sales, as well as a live auction featuring artwork and gift certificates to local restaurants, will help pay for Breeland’s medical bills as she works her way through a long recovery. The benefit also includes a performance by local blues musician Robin Henkel from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parents may also have their children photographed with Santa Claus throughout the day by donating to the recovery fund.
“She is probably the best barista in San Diego, with a really deep knowledge of coffee,” said Breeland’s boss, Bird Rock Coffee Rosters owner Chuck Patton.
“She runs this company, basically,” added Patton, who sent his star employee to Nicaragua earlier this year on a coffee buying expedition. “She’s becoming the person we’re sending to buy a lot of coffee at its origin. As soon as she’s ready to do it again, she’ll be doing that again.”
Friend Marissa Feliciano, an office manager at nearby I S Architecture on La Jolla Boulevard, said Breeland’s passion and personality draw customers to her instantly. “She’s the type of person that definitely loves life and is sort of open to everything and everyone,” said Feliciano, noting her friend’s passion for a wide variety of music genres, from ’70s rock to blues and funk.
Patton said his customers miss Breeland’s positive energy, and are eager to see her back on the job.
“She had this uncanny ability to size people up and make them feel good in an instant with a nice comment. People who have known her for five years or five minutes all have the same opinion of her. She has fantastic energy. It’s impossible not to like her.”
Though a family member could not be reached by press time, a Facebook page established to monitor Breeland’s progress states that she was removed from the ICU on Dec. 13 and that her recovery is “way ahead of where anyone else would be with this type of trauma.”
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters is at 5627 La Jolla Blvd. For more information about the fundraiser, call (858) 551-1707. A blood drive in Breeland's honor will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 29 in the parking lot of Bird Rock Surf Shop, 5509 La Jolla Blvd. To follow Breeland’s recovery and send her a message, visit www.facebook.com/jocylynnbreeland.