Friends raise funds for beloved NYC bar bouncer paralyzed by COVID

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A beloved bouncer at a famed Upper East Side bar was left temporarily paralyzed by COVID-19, prompting his former patrons to rally around him.

Friends of “Big Ray,” who has helmed the door at Dorrian’s Red Hand for years, have showered him with love — and money.

Ray Vidal’s pals want to see him back on his feet, and had contributed more than $155,000 to a GoFundMe by Saturday.

“it’s so wonderful,” Vidal told The Post about the outpouring of support. “I knew I had some good people around me but I didn’t know how good they really were. And it’s nice not to have to worry about debt.”

Vidal, 51, has worked at the famed Upper East Side watering hole — best known as the place where the so-called “Preppy Killer” Robert Chambers met the young woman he later strangled to death in 1986 — for 23 years.

Vidal got sick with the coronavirus last March, spent three weeks in the hospital and almost four months in rehab afterward. He was temporarily paralyzed as a result of his illness and still has trouble walking.

He struggled for a month to eat, sleep, and breathe, he said, and it wasn’t until mid-April 2020 that he was able to hug his now 6-year-old daughter. Vidal also has a 22-year-old son in college.

But one day in May 2020, after he thought he was no longer sick, Vidal’s knees buckled when he fell out of bed and found he was temporarily paralyzed, an extremely rare side effect of COVID, he said. He had to spend three months in a rehab center to learn to walk again.

He’s able to walk again now, but just barely.

“What’s going on now is I have severe pain all the time and it hurts very much to walk even a little,” Vidal told The Post Saturday. “I’m also on medication five times a day which makes it impossible to return to work.”

Vidal’s last day at Dorrian’s was March 12, the day it closed because of the pandemic. It has since re-opened, he said.

“I hope I get back there,” he said. “We’ll see.”

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