A pleasant encounter with a stranger

With the constant flow of everything that happens in life, I find that I forget the importance of self care and how much it lifts my mood. Today was just a simple two hours of going to the salon to get my winter damaged hair trimmed as I wanted it prepped for the sunshine of spring. I have been putting it off for a while, stomped at which salon I should go to because of my previous bad experience, but given the brittle ends and hard to manage hair, I decided to take a gamble and hope for the best!

Toronto has had some terrible weather these past few months and as the sun peaked through the skies with the rays of warmth, I got myself ready and leisurely walked towards the salon. I was greeted by an elderly man’s gracious smile as he asked me how I wanted my hair to be cut. I knew exactly what I wanted so I explained in detail to cut off the dead ends, long layers and to keep it simple. As he massaged my scalp and shampooed my hair I felt relaxed to be pampered as I am a low maintenance girl who rarely treats myself, so this to me was what I regarded as special.

I moved to the main chair and was not sure if he was going to be relatively quiet during my trim or one of those talkative stylists that have excellent social skills with an intrinsic ability to spark up a conversation out of nothing to anyone. It turns out he was a natural social butterfly, effortlessly transitioning the topics from the beautiful weather to his family. He glowed in a way only grandparents could as he spoke about his 5 year old granddaughter. We spoke about random topics, such as the differences between Vancouver and Toronto and he offered some suggestions of restaurants for me to visit that had authentic, delectable dishes that would not disappoint.

During the small talk, he took his time with my hair, asking if I wanted it thinned, I politely said no sharing a childhood story of my inability to have thick hair when I was younger, which always worried my mother. I enjoyed his company and could tell that he loved his job, as he carefully sectioned the hair and talked me through the steps to ease my anxiousness of having too much length cut off. I was curious so I probed him on how many years he was in this field, he perked up and looked me straight in the eyes with pride, as he uttered 30 years. We went into detail of his scheduled days, working at two different salons with the loyal client base he established over the years. That statement seemed to stick with me, 30 years in the same industry and still willing to work every day for the love of the artistry, behind making someone walk out feeling satisfied each time.

It got me thinking about work and how certain fields are seen as nobler than others in the mission. But I think if we look at people mastering their skills with passion and love no matter what their title, there is splendor and reverence in all. There was something about his energy that radiated and it instantly made me feel comfortable and contented to have been in his presence through a random act of cutting my hair. As I got up from the chair, grabbed my jacket and thanked him profusely for taking his time, he handed me his business card. We exchanged smiles and walked away saying it was a pleasure to have met you as we ended our lengthy conversation. Today was just a simple Saturday, with the encounter of a kind stranger, living every day with a sense of purpose and fervor for the service of others.

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