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Letter: Free haircut and shampoo

I heard this story at the barbershop on Little Gaetz.

A man who appeared disheveled and homeless walked into this shop and asked the owner for a haircut. Mid-way through this cut, he admitted to the owner that all he had was two dollars. “That’s alright” she quipped in a her usual friendly manner, and then shortly thereafter queried if he wanted his beard trimmed. He refused this kindly offer, but accepted the shampoo she offered him instead.

Some time later, this same man returned to this barbershop, and insisted that the owner accept a one hundred dollar bill. She absolutely refused. After some deliberation on both sides, the owner acquiesced only after he proposed that she just pay it forward.

Now, who was it that benefited more – the man, or the owner of the shop? As it happens, others beyond these two were rewarded. The teenagers at the nearby Street Ties Drop In Centre are to be the recipients of some free haircuts.

And what of this? Is it not better to avoid rash behaviour, and act with more careful consideration? Why was it so easy to recognize the kindness of this barber, and the goodness of this man, and not see the irrationality so evident in our lives? Human nature is what it is, but it better serves us when it tempers and nurtures the well-being, goodness, generosity, and safety of every person.

Since this incident, the barber received a letter of appreciation and thanks from this man revealing who he was, where he came from, what his circumstances were, and what his name is. It’s proudly displayed on a bulletin board right next to the barber’s chair.

Larry Melnychuk, Red Deer