I went to get my hair (such as it is, but mostly, it isn't) cut yesterday and ran into Great Clips because its usually quick and cheap. And that's the way I like it.
I was checked in by this old Queen named "Don Ray" (blond hair, dark roots) and asked to be seated - he'd be with me in a couple minutes. He went back to his chair and the elderly woman seated there. The place was empty, save for the three of us.
I watched Don Ray fussing - and I mean fussing - over some old woman with brown hair that should have been gray. Her hair was way short - too short - and it reminded me of the horrible hair cut that the woman from hospice gave my mother before she died.
Poor Don Ray, he was gently combing the woman's hair, spritzing it and trying to do something with it, but it was just too short. The woman was all smiles because she was chatting up a storm and Don Ray was smiling and saying "uh-huh" and "I know what you mean" as if he were listening to her.
She patted the top of her head and Don Ray raised up a comb full of hair and tried to give it volume. The dear old thing was tickled pink. From the side though, it made her look like a rooster. She turned her head side to side and her face just glowed with happiness.
She got up, talking a mile a minute, and went to pay.
"Now I don't know what to charge you. I didn't cut your hair, so I can't charge you for that. Let's just settle it at $5," said Don Ray. She paid him and smiled. "Now you remember what I told you. You don't need to mess with that traffic out by Easton. If you want a pair of shoes just go over to Target. They have nice shoes and they are priced fairly." She said she would, and off she went, in slow, measured steps.
When I got seated I complimented Don Ray on how well he treated her. I told him, from my vantage, he was terribly sweet to her, and that she reminded me of my mother toward the end.
"Poor thing. She comes in once a week wanting a hair cut, and sometime they cut it for her. She's barely got anything left. Today she came in wanting her hair colored and we don't do that here. So I said I would see what I could do."
He went on to tell me that since they weren't busy, she sat for twenty minutes while he fussed over her, and listened to her ramblings.
"She said she didn't like the traffic out by Easton, but she wanted to buy a new pair of shoes. I kept telling her that she could get a nice pair at Target, around the corner, and she wouldn't have to deal with the traffic. I mean no one is going to be judging her on her shoes, right? I mean if you were out there driving in that congested mess, would you want her in her Buick in front of you. Her shopping at Target is a win-win for everyone, the way I see it."
As Don Ray buzzed away my hair (number 3 clipper, all around) he told me that he charged her the five dollars because she always insists on paying something.
"She could have gone to Saturdays and they would have charged her twenty dollars and done nothing. Over at Toby's Hair Affair, they would have charged her forty dollars! Poor thing. And she tipped me $1. Bless her heart. I wish she could have kept that." He started trimming my neck. "You know, she just wanted to feel pretty. And we all like to be special, right?"
With that I was done. Don Ray and I settled up - $12 for the quickie cut and a $4 tip.
Did I leave there feeling pretty? No. But I have to say I admire Don Ray for making that woman feel pretty special. After all, its what we all want, right?