Brycen Juby, 7, is looking forward to a special occasion—his first school day in public school is nearing, and he wants to look dapper and sharp when he gets his picture taken. But whenever Joe and Ashley, Brycen’s parents accompanied the kid to barbershops or kiddie salons, it was too much for him.
When Brycen was 2 and a half years old, he was diagnosed with Autism. His parents also found out he had apraxia of speech and was nonverbal not long after his initial diagnosis. These conditions made communicating difficult for little Brycen. Ashley and Joe soon decided to have Brycen’s hair cut in the comfort of their home.
Even still, Brycen would have his meltdowns whenever they tried to cut his hair. As he grew older, Brycen’s parents saw an improvement. Their son can now finish a haircut session without having a breakdown. When Brycen turned 7, the couple decided to return to a barbershop. They figured it was best to come when it was not peak hours.
The family reached out to Marky Fresh Barbershop. When the family arrived, Brycen started crying. Marco Conti, barber and co-owner of the establishment, noticed how uncomfortable Brycen was and approached the kid.
“I could tell he felt more comfortable outside, so I was like right off the cuff,” Conti told TODAY. The barber went to the kid and asked if he can cut the hair outside. Brycen agreed. “I just wanted to make him feel safe and comfortable, and that there was nothing to fear.”
Brycen, who was overwhelmed at first, looked relieved as they all went outside for his much-needed haircut. After moving a chair out, the barber made sure he was extra careful. As Brycen’s hair got trimmed, Joe held his son’s cheeks and cradled his face. This touching moment moved people on the Internet as the photo went viral.
“He (Marco) was so accommodating and reassured me that everything would be great, and it was,” Ashely said. Brycen, with a brand-new look, was asked if he liked his new haircut, the boy said ‘yes’ without hesitation.
Conti said it was part of the experience. He wants everyone to come to his shop, feel good, and leave even better. Brycen’s parents couldn’t be more thankful for his kind gesture. People in the post’s comment section lauded Conti’s efforts to accommodate Ashley’s special request.
For most people, getting their hair cut seems to be an ordinary task. But for Brycen and to kids with special needs, it can be challenging for both the kid and the parent. “There are kind, patient, understanding people out there,” said Ashley, who was relieved that his son finally got his new hairdo.
Ashley and Joe’s request might be a once-in-a-blue-moon case, but this is not the last time Conti will go out of his way for kids like Bryce. “Someone once told me “with a great gift, you must do great things,” the barber wrote on his viral post. Imagine little Brycen’s face as he gets his picture taken. Behind his smile lies the story of kindness and empathy the world needs.
Watch the video below to witness how Marco Conti moved everyone with his heartfelt gesture: