Meet Mark Bustos, a 30-year-old high-end hairstylist. He works at Three Squares Studio in the New York City neighbourhood of Chelsea, where prices for his services start at USD150 and can run as high as USD800 for certain straightening or colour treatments.
Bustos spends every Sunday, his only day off from work, giving the pricey hair studio treatment to homeless people he sees on the streets of New York. He approaches each person with the same, simple phrase: "I want to do something nice for you today".
For people who have been trapped in a cycle of poverty, unemployment and homelessness, the makeover can also serve a useful function: looking presentable for a job
Having started cutting hair for the less fortunate since May 2012, Bustos provides haircuts to up to six people every Sunday, capturing many stylings on his Instagram account
He started this from Philippines when he traveled there to visit his family members. While there, he paid an owner of a barbershop to rent a chair and provide services to impoverished children in need of a fresh look. "The feeling was so rewarding, I decided to bring the positive energy back to NYC," Bustos, 30, told The Huffington Post in an email, noting he's also given haircuts to the needy in Jamaica, Costa Rica and Los Angeles.huffingtonpost.com
One of Bustos' homeless clients, Jim from Long Beach, California, who'd just been released from prison two weeks before his haircut. "Every human life is worth the same," Bustos wrote in the caption. "We all deserve a second chance."
Of all the meaningful haircuts Bustos has given over the years, one recipient sticks out. "Jemar Banks - I'll never forget the name."
Bustos told HuffPost, "after offering him a haircut and whatever food he wanted to eat, he didn't have much to say throughout the whole process, until after I showed him what he looked like when I was done ... The first thing he said to me was, 'Do you know anyone that's hiring?'"huffingtonpost.com
Bustos cuts hair all over New York City, often accompanied by his girlfriend, who asks recipients what food they'd like to eat. "One response we've gotten is, 'Nobody ever asks me what I actually want. I usually just get leftovers and scraps,'" Bustos told HuffPost.
He intentionally cuts hair for the homeless in open, well-traveled spaces like sidewalks etc. so that others can watch. "Not to see me," he notes. He does it so that others can find inspiration in the good deed, and be kind to those less unfortunate as well.
"I approach individuals on the street or parks and tell them the purpose of what I do," he says. "Cutting their hair becomes a lot like a therapy session and not just a haircut."
His motto is simple: "Be awesome to somebody"
Check out some of the photos from Bustos' Instagram