For the past four years, she had been working as a hairdresser, cutting and styling hair. She thought she had experienced everything her job had to offer, but then she encountered a new client who surprised her.
When the new client entered the salon, the hairdresser greeted her with a smile, ready to tackle the tangle of hair. However, as she listened to the client's story, she realized that the task might be more challenging than she initially thought.
A Hairstylist’s Journey
Maria began her career as a hairdresser while she was still in high school. She had a natural talent for making people feel good about their appearance and chose hairdressing as a way to utilize this skill.
Maria began working part-time at her aunt's salon during her final year of high school to earn some extra money. She went to college with the decision to she went to focus on hairdressing as a career. She had no clue how much the decision would change her life.
Her Next Steps
After working as a hairstylist for a couple of years, Maria was able to secure a job in her city. Her ultimate goal was to eventually open her own salon, where she could fully embrace all the opportunities in the hairdressing industry.
Maria had been working as a hairstylist for four years and had seen all the ups and downs of the profession. She thought she had seen everything the job had to offer until something unexpected happened on a Saturday morning.
Maria and her colleagues were busy on Saturday as the salon was fully booked. The stylists had their work cut out for them as their weekend was fully booked.
While Maria was finishing a haircut for one of her regular clients, she noticed a teenage girl looking through the salon windows. This was common, as many people peeked inside to see what was happening. However, the girl's actions caught Maria's attention and made her stop what she was doing.
Girl In Sweats
A girl wearing grey sweatpants and a large hoodie entered the salon. She scanned the room with her blue eyes, keeping her hood on and nervously playing with her fingers.
Maria noticed that the girl seemed anxious. She put down her clippers and tried to smile at her, but the girl turned and quickly left the store.
Calling Out To Her
"Sorry, Lucy," Maria said to her client before navigating through the crowded salon and heading outside. "Hey!" she shouted. The girl was about to turn a corner. "Come back," Maria called out.
The girl stopped and turned around. She looked afraid, and her lips were shaking. She avoided looking at Maria. "Please come back," Maria repeated, her lips smiling. She wanted to make sure the girl was okay.
Returning To The Salon
"What's your name?" Maria asked as the girl returned to her. The girl quietly spoke her name, and Maria introduced herself. "Would you like to come inside?" she asked. "We have milkshakes and some good stories to share."
Although the girl nodded and followed Maria into the shop, Maria could tell she was still anxious. She led her through the crowded salon full of chairs, clients, and stylists. When the girl removed her hood, Maria understood why she had run away.
A Request That Shocked
"Cut it all off," the girl told Maria as she looked at her hair. It was tangled and unkempt, with large knots that hadn't been brushed in a while. "Why do you want me to cut it?" Maria asked, already anticipating rearranging her schedule for the rest of the day.
"Because it's worthless," the girl replied. "I'm worthless." Tears welled up in her eyes. "Please cut it all off," she begged.
"Let's take it slowly," Maria said in a comforting tone. "We'll start by combing it first, and take our time to work through the tangles.” She smiled warmly. "The last resort will be using the clippers, okay?"
The girl looked at Maria with a confused expression but nodded. "Why do you care?" she asked. Maria's heart was broken by what the girl said next.
"Nobody ever cares," the girl said. She told Maria about her life, including how her mom had passed away a few months ago. She had been struggling with depression and was constantly overwhelmed by the darkness surrounding her.
Sometimes the girl felt so low, neglected, and worthless that she couldn't even brush her hair. But why did she want to cut it all off?
Preparing For School
"School's starting soon," the girl said. She would need a new photo for the semester, and she didn't want to go through the pain of combing out all of the tangles in her hair.
Hearing the girl's story broke Maria's heart. She rearranged her entire weekend schedule to make time for her, including having some of her clients serviced by her colleagues. She spent the entire day with the girl, working for hours to comb and clean her hair. Could she prevent her from cutting off her locks?
As the day came to a close, Maria showed the girl her reflection in the mirror. They had transformed her hair from a tangled mess of curls into a more manageable head of tangled hair.
She noticed her smiling for the first time, but there was much more for Maria to do. She returned a smile of her own before asking the girl to come back the next day.
Opening On A Sunday
Maria rarely opened the salon on Sunday mornings, but this occasion was unlike any other. She wasn't sure if the girl would come, but when she opened the door, she saw her reflection in the window behind her.
"Come in!" Maria exclaimed, welcoming the girl into the salon. She was dressed differently than the previous day, wearing a flowing blue dress instead of sweatpants and a hoodie. Her dark hair was also down. Did she seem happier? Maria was eager to find out.
An Enjoyable Time
Maria resumed working on the girl's hair where she had left off. She asked the girl what length she felt comfortable with and what styles she preferred.
Although the girl was reluctant to speak, Maria found her interesting and enjoyed talking to her. After spending hours together, Maria thought she was delightful. Working on her hair was an enjoyable task, but that was before she noticed an issue.
Devising Another Plan
Although they had made progress by fixing most of the large knots and matted sections of her hair, there was still significant damage near the scalp. Maria frowned as she thought about what her next steps would be.
They had made so much progress that Maria was concerned that mentioning the remaining damage might make the girl feel hopeless and cause her to slip back into sadness. She came up with a plan to address the issue instead.