WITH A COUPON in my pocket for a $9.99 haircut at Great Clips, I looked online to see how long I’d have to wait.
Just long enough to get there.
I typed in my name and phone number. That’s all I had to do to check in online. Excellent feature.
When I arrived, there were two stylists at work on the only two customers in the store.
Both stylists were nearly done cutting.
In walked a gent who looked and dressed like a construction worker. Rugged boots. Jeans. He was in his mid 30’s, I’d say.
“Did you check in online?” the brunette stylist asked.
“Yes,” he said, “but my name’s not up there.”
By “up there,” he meant on the computer monitor facing out for customers to see the first names of the customers next in line.
“Did you check in at the right place?”
He pulled out his smart phone.
It showed that he had checked in at another Great Clips down the road.
“Do you want to check in here?” the stylist asked.
“No, I’m running late.”
I spoke up.
“Take my spot.”
He paused. “Nah, I wouldn’t want to do that.”
“I’m relaxed. You go ahead and take it.”
He took it, thanking me.
No skin off my head. The blonde stylist was done with her customer just a couple of minutes later. So I was in the chair faster than I could finish the email message I was reading on my phone.
The stylist asked what I did for a living. Maybe she wanted to know why I was so relaxed.
“I write books about the Bible and Christianity. Not the heavy stuff, but books especially for folks curious about the Bible and Christianity. I used to be a news reporter, so I approach the Bible that way, as a journalist.”
“Oh, that’s cool,” she said.
We talked about that for a bit.
I hadn’t noticed, but the other customer finished his haircut and left.
That’s apparently when his brunette stylist asked my blonde stylist an odd question:
“Are you almost done?”
I thought, “Huh? She’s cutting my hair. Don’t rush her.”
I’m so glad I kept my mouth shut for a change.
Finished, I stood at the checkout counter. One hand held my coupon. The other hand reached for my wallet.
Both stylists stood by the cash register, looking at me.
Brunette, “He paid for your haircut.”
Blonde, “He paid for my tip, too. You’re good to go.”
“Oh my. That was so kind. Thank you. Oh my.”
I was kinda dumbfounded.
As I turned to walk out, it felt like I was moving in slow motion, which seems oddly melodramatic in retrospect. But it was what it was.
I saw two customers sitting in chairs. They had been looking at me. I think one guy was smiling, but I can’t be sure. I was disoriented.
I have no memory of anyone doing this kind of thing for me. Ever. I actually teared up in the car. Over a free haircut, for heaven’s sake.
One act of kindness.
Four if you count the stylists who played their roles.
Six if you count the customers watching and perhaps getting ideas of their own.
An old man in Bible times offered this pearl of wisdom to the up and coming young men of his day:
“When you’re kind to others, you help yourself” (Proverbs 11:17).
That wasn’t my intent…to help myself.
But to my surprise, that was my result.
I wish I hadn’t been surprised.
I’d love to live in a world like that, not surprised by kindness.
I wonder if we can make a world like that, or if the best we can hope for is to die trying.