Homeless Central Texas man stunned by kindness of strangers
A homeless Waco man with a voucher for a pre-job-interview trim stopped by a local barbershop, but left with much more than a haircut including the shirt off of another customer’s back, shoes, slacks, socks, bus fare and more than a little gratitude.
Justin Robinson, 38, says he lost his job in March after struggling to overcome seizures from epilepsy.
He’s been homeless for five weeks, but recently found help from the Christian Men’s Job Corps, which provided him with some assistance in finding another job and a voucher for a free haircut and shave at Champions Barber Academy in downtown Waco.
He went to the academy on Tuesday to cash in the voucher before a job interview Wednesday and shared his story with the barber as he got a trim.
Another customer heard the exchange and what happened next triggered a cascade of random acts of kindness.
“After his haircut (the customer) came up to me and said ‘I don't mean to bother you but I overheard your conversation,” Robinson said, “and he literally took the shoes off his feet and the shirt off his back and wished me good luck.”
The man was Anthony Fitz, a partner in a Sonic drive-in, who was there with his son.
Fitz left the shop without shirt or shoes, said barber Dejuan Bennz, who was so moved by the act that he gave his tips to Robinson, who later used the money for bus fare to get to the job interview.
And it didn’t stop there.
Another barber, Fernando Dominguez, slipped out the shop while Robinson was still in the chair and returned with a new pair of pants and a pair of socks he purchased with his hard earned money.
He says he did it because “everyone has a story.”
“I know how it feels not to have anything,” Dominguez says.
“I come from a family that started with nothing. Not only the frustration he had but he had no motivation. So what I did was just to help out. I just think it's the right things to do to help each other out.”
Robinson left the shop with promises to return after his interview to let the barbers know how the interview went, and true to his word he stopped back in on Wednesday with good news.
He told the employees the interview went well, but training for the job doesn’t start until August and he’s still hoping to find something in the interim.
But no matter the outcome, Robinson says he left Champions Barber Academy this week with a lesson that is priceless.
“All the things that happened on the news, it's always negative,” he said.
“It's good to hear something so beautiful and just something good.”
Lorraine Gritten, the owner of the academy, says she passes out vouchers often to help those in need, adding that her shop has always been about so much more than haircuts.
“I've been called to do this,” Gritten said through tears.
“I feel like the students here are getting more than just cutting hair. They can walk out of here knowing that they made a difference in someone's life. “