Mark Bustos is a hair stylist at upscale Manhattan Three Squares Studio, cutting hair for the likes of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, designer Phillip Lim … and just as important, the homeless of New York City.
In what is now a weekly ritual, every Sunday Bustos ventures out on the streets of New York City offering haircuts to those who can’t afford them and documenting the good deed on social media, where his nearly 200,000 Instagram followers cheer him on and are inspired themselves to do good
According to Mark, his work provides a boost to the self-image of those less fortunate. “I do believe people with a proper, professional haircut receive more respect than those who do not have a proper haircut,” he says. “Having a proper haircut also gives the recipient much more confidence.”
This journey began for Mark on a trip to the Philippines in May 2012, after renting out a barber shop to offer free haircuts to children. Since then, Mark says he intentionally cuts hair for the homeless in well-traveled spaces so the public can watch what he is doing and feel inspired to mirror this kindness to others.
There is no system to Mark’s Sunday haircuts. This 30 year-old stylist walks into random neighborhoods looking for a haircut recipient or will ask clients at Three Squares Studio if they notice homeless people in their neighborhoods or near their offices.
A photo Mark posted this month showed a man called, “Cowboy Richie.” Mark captioned a photo describing his encounter with Richie and their discussion about the shelter where Richie stayed. Richie told Mark, “I don’t like calling it a shelter. It’s our safe haven.” It’s people like Richie that Mark helps not only with a free haircut, but also empathy.
Mark encourages others to follow suit by adding the hashtag #BeAwesomeToSomebody to all of the photos he adds to his Instagram profile. Mark writes in one of his posts online, “Be present. Human interaction and connecting through meaningful conversation can change the way people think about themselves. The positive connections you make have the potential to become the high point in someone else’s day.”
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