Mark Bustos is a hair stylist based in New York City. Currently, Mark works at the swanky Three Squares Studio, which has been featured in magazines like GQ, Details and Vanity Fair, among others.
But on his day off, you won’t find Mark shmoozing with his high-end customers. Rather, you’ll find him walking the streets of the city, offering free professional-level haircuts to homeless people.
The idea started back in May of 2012, when Mark took a trip back to his family’s native home in the Philippines.
While there, he rented out a chair in a local barbershop to give haircuts to underprivileged kids.
According to Mark, he meant it as a tribute to his girlfriend’s late father, who had always gotten his haircuts at that shop.
During his time in the Philippines, one boy’s reaction really stuck with Mark:
“My most vivid memory of one particular child’s reaction was a simple smile… He was 12 years old, and so shy, and rarely made eye contact with anybody. He had no shoes on his feet and looked extremely rough and callused.
“During his haircut, he looked upset the entire time and didn’t look up once, until the cut was complete. One man in the shop said, ‘Now you look like you’re from NYC!’ He looked up and cracked the most unforgettable smile.”
This experience stuck with Mark, who decided to continue the tradition when he returned home to NYC.
Now, every Sunday, you can find Mark on the streets of New York, looking for somebody who looks like they could use a random act of kindness.
One of Mark’s biggest motivations is giving these people a boost in confidence and the chance to be treated with some dignity:
“I do believe people with a proper, professional haircut receive more respect than those who do not have a proper haircut… Having a proper haircut also gives the recipient much more confidence.”
Mark didn’t always take pictures of his free haircuts, but decided to start doing so recently in the hopes that he could, “inspire others to do great things for fellow human beings.”
But when it all comes down to it, Mark is simply motivated by the desire to be a positive force in the world:
“There is so much negativity in this world today, and I just simply wanted to bring some positive energy and hope into this world.”
“If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction.”