Meet Mark Bustos. Mark is a barber at a high-end salon in New York City, with clients like Norah Jones and Marc Jacobs. He works six days a week but on his day off, he voluntarily works some more. He walks around New York City befriending homeless people and giving away free haircuts. Mark started giving away haircuts after he visited the Philippines a few years ago—where his folks are from. He cut hair for some street kids and felt really good afterwards. He decided he wanted to keep giving when he came home.
A haircut is only part of it. As Mark puts it, “It’s not just about hairstyling. Hairstyling is the most minimal part of it. It is about trying to give back and care for people. Show love and compassion and give them back their dignity.” He usually approaches by saying something like, “Hi, I’m Mark. I’d like to do something nice for you today.” Homeless people rarely hear something so kind, if they are approached at all. He just sits them down on whatever he can find, and treats them just like he would a client in his own salon.
Mark’s goal is to raise awareness about homeless people and inspire others to give back. He shares his work on Instagram and has partnered with fusion.net to create the Street Cuts video series, where you can see how talented Mark is at not only making people look good, but making them feel good too. After one cut, his client said, “I feel so great, not just physically, but emotionally… Can you take a photo of me with your phone so I can send it to that girl I was telling you about?”
Mark is at ease with the people he serves. He shows that it is possible for us all to give back. He created the hashtag #BeAwesomeToSomebody so people can share their random acts of kindness. Mark’s message is simple:
“Be more aware and be more compassionate to fellow human beings all around you. This world is beautiful and with all the negative news we hear, it isn’t hard to turn things around and do positive things all around in our lives.”
*Note: the video below was produced by Philips Norelco to sell a hair clipper. That said, it shows the heart of Mark’s message well and is absolutely worth a view.