Brycen Juby’s parents decided that taking their autistic son to the salon for a haircut was simply too much for the boy. So they decided to cut his hair at home to spare him the traumatic experience starting at age 3.
But now Brycen is 7 and is attending his first year of public school – and his parents wanted him to have a good haircut for his first school picture day.
Mom Ashley Juby made an appointment for him at Marky Fresh Barbershop in Mentor, Ohio on October 12 for his first salon haircut in years.
“She wanted to bring her son in during a non-busier time of the day, so it would be a little more easier on him,” Marco Conti, co-owner of the salon told TODAY Parents.
But when Brycen and his dad showed up, the boy began crying and it looked like a haircut wasn’t in the cards. But Conti stepped in to try to soothe the boy first:
“When Brycen and his dad came in, he felt super emotional, crying inside about to get his haircut,” Conti said. “I could tell he felt more comfortable outside so I was like right off the cuff, ‘What if we cut your hair outside? Would you feel more comfortable?’ He agreed. I just wanted to make him feel safe and comfortable.”
Conti’s empathy and effort made a huge difference, but he says it was no big deal.
“I really didn’t feel like it was such a big deal at the time. I felt like anyone would do that. I just thought it was something that I had to do.”
As many parents of special needs children know, it really is a big deal – and compassion can mean everything in a moment of crisis. Conti’s willingness to slow down and understand the situation and then adapt meant that Brycen would get the haircut he needed for picture day instead of having a meltdown.
One of Conti’s co-workers took a photo of the trio outside during the haircut and Conti posted it on Facebook, noting that he often encounters special needs clients and will do his best to adapt.
In his post, he said:
“You probably didn’t know that I go to people’s homes with special needs and autism. So if you were driving past the shop today yes I was outside with a really sweet boy who felt more comfortable being outside. So in light of this situation I’m here for you – message me.”
Hundreds of likes poured in along with comments from other customers who had similar stories, including one dad whose daughter was accommodated for her sensitivity to light and sound.
Juby shared a photo of Brycen with his handsome new haircut with TODAY and said:
“To have a company so willing to accommodate is such a relief on my end or my husband’s end. It’s pretty fantastic. I found if you reach out, there are good people that are willing to help you.”
While it might seem like a small act of kindness, it certainly went a long way with this family.
Be sure to scroll down below to see an interview with Ashley Juby and Marco Conti.
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