Mark Bustos is a New York hair stylist with a heart of gold. He spends his Sundays – his only day off from work at an upscale salon – giving free haircuts and shaves to the homeless. His heartwarming story has gone viral on Instagram, where he posts photographs of his unusual weekend escapades.
Every Sunday, Mark sets out through the city in search of anyone who might need a trim or a shave. Once he spots someone who fits the description, he approaches them with a simple phrase: “I want to do something nice for you today.” He then proceeds with the haircut and repeats the process for up to six different people.
Mark, 30, has been doing this every weekend since May 2012, which was when he had traveled to the Philippines to visit his family. During the trip, he had rented a chair from a local barber shop to give haircuts to impoverished children in his neighborhood.
“The feeling was so rewarding,” he recalled. “I decided to bring the positive energy back to NYC.” Mark has also traveled to Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Los Angeles to give haircuts to help those who cannot afford a decent haircut.
Although he’s given haircuts to hundreds of people so far, he remembers one person in particular. “Jemar Banks – I’ll never forget the name,” Mark said. “After offering him a haircut and whatever food he wanted to eat, he didn’t have much to say throughout the whole process, until after I showed him what he looked like when I was done. The first thing he said to me was, ‘Do you know anyone that’s hiring?’”
Mark is sometimes accompanied by his girlfriend on his Sunday tours – she asks his clients what food they’d like to eat. “One response we’ve gotten is, ‘Nobody ever asks me what food I actually want. I usually just get leftovers and scraps.’” He intentionally gives these haircuts in open spaces like street corners and sidewalks so that the public can watch and get inspired to be kind to the less fortunate.
Mark’s way of giving back is definitely inspiring, but he is not the first one to do it. For the last 25 years, Joe the Barber, from Connecticut, has been giving homeless people free haircuts in exchange for hugs.
I don’t know about you guys, but stories like this always restore my faith in humanity.
Photos: Mark Bustos/Instagram