CREDIT: Mark Bustos/Instagram
Mark Bustos, who works for the high-end hair salon Three Squares Studio in New York City, spends his days off giving haircuts to homeless people who want them.
He’s been offering free haircuts since May of 2012, when he took a trip to the Philippines, where his family is from, and gave children there haircuts. He’s also given free cuts to people in Los Angeles, Costa Rica, and Jamaica. He sometimes spends hours roaming the streets of New York seeking out someone who needs a cut. He also offers food to his underprivileged clients.
The motivation behind the cuts is to give them a boost. “I do believe people with a proper, professional haircut receive more respect than those who do not have a proper haircut,” he told Today.com. “Having a proper haircut also gives the recipient much more confidence.”
He’s documented some of the cuts on his Instagram feed:
“There is so much negativity in this world today, and I just simply wanted to bring some positive energy and hope into this world,” he told Today. Many of his Instagram images include the hashtag #BeAwesomeToSomebody.
A haircut may seem like a small thing, and certainly the homeless need many other basics, first and foremost shelter. But as can be seen in some of Bustos’s images, it can transform the way homeless people are seen. And particularly if they’re looking to find employment, it can make a big difference. In San Francisco, where the city has set up day-long fairs that bring multiple services for the homeless to one easy-to-reach place, haircuts rank with IDs, dental care, and eyeglasses among the top needs of those who attend.