The world is becoming more chaotic as time passes, and bad news is reported all the time. That’s why it’s refreshing to see people willing to make a change even when others contribute to a toxic society. There should be more news about individuals giving back to society in any way possible. Those people can inspire younger generations to build connections most genuinely. A community must be made with kindness and care for others to be inclusive.
For instance, you can start a group that will be a safe space for those experiencing being excluded from social gatherings. Be a helping hand to people who can’t love themselves because society has treated them harshly. A barber from Cincinnati thought of a way to spread happiness and provide a safe space for others. Vernon Jackson’s barber shop has two purposes — providing his clients with a great haircut and showing kindness through the “Gifted Event,” where he donates haircuts to children that require accommodating. His project was heaven-sent for parents that prefer an establishment where their children are safe and have a haircut most comfortably.
People became more aware of the Gifted Event when Vernon and his young client Ellison went viral online. Ellison has down syndrome, but he’s very playful and humorous, which he can naturally show while getting a haircut from Vernon. Their friendship has grown so well, and you can really see how Vernon happily plays along. Instead of scolding him for being too playful, he continues the haircut with no problem. “Ellison, his personality is a class clown. And so if he knows what he’s doing is making you laugh, he will continue doing it. And it just becomes the fun thing that he does. So once he saw the reaction from Vernon, I’m not surprised that he continued it,” Julie Eubanks, Ellison’s mother, shared.
Haircuts with Ellison includes a game of stop-and-go. The young client would funnily command Vernon when to stop or continue cutting or shaving his hair. “I couldn’t help but get a kick out of it. At one moment, Julie was like, ‘I’m sorry, Vernon,’ I’m like, ‘No, no, no. Listen, let him do his thing.’ I will stop and go as many times as necessary to make sure that he has a great experience in the chair and we get through it,” Vernon explained. Julie was delighted with the service the barber shop owner was providing them with. She couldn’t help but laugh at the endearing moment between Vernon and Ellison.
The barber shop was a blessing for Julie because she and her son always had difficulty with haircuts. Every session, she would bear hug Ellison so he wouldn’t swat the scissors away from the barber. The little kid found each trip to the barber shop an uncomfortable experience until they met Vernon. Also, it was for free because of Vernon’s mission for the Gifted Event. Moreover, Vernon’s place became their safe space because there were no judgments. The barber shop owner did an excellent job creating a welcoming environment — no one was different, and no one was excluded.
“I know what it feels like to be insecure. I know what it feels like to not be accepted. I know what it feels like to be looked over and looked past. I know all those things, and my journey started with me learning how to love myself, learning how to accept who I am and how I was designed and how I was designed to give and receive love. Being able to share that in principle with the children and with the families is what I’m bringing and what I enjoy sharing with them,” Vernon said.
Indeed, the world is already judgmental enough, so it’s best to show kindness even more, especially to children. At a young age, they should be taught that they are amazing the way they are and beautifully unique. Vernon paid it forward, and you can, too. Watch their inspiring friendship in the video below.