Three Month Cut

A few things make most of us feel like a million bucks: a clean shave, a clean car, and a clean cut.

Of course, there’s nothing unusual about a clean shave. Many of us partake in this morning ritual day after day after day. And while we used to wash our cars on a regular basis, the drought in California pretty much put the brakes on that.

What hasn’t changed, however, is our desire for clean cuts. Everyone knows how good it feels to walk out of a salon or barbershop with exactly what the doctor ordered — especially in the summertime, as rapper and actor, Will Smith, dutifully noted back in 1991:

“Everybody come lookin’ real fine; fresh from the barbershop or fly from the beauty salon…”

Conversely, we all know how frustrating it can be when busy schedules interfere with our desires to schedule haircuts, which brings me to the photo that you see here.

Fortunately, most of us cannot imagine being in a life-threatening accident. And thankfully, most of us certainly cannot imagine being in a coma as a result of an accident. Unfortunately, not everyone escapes life’s hurdles unscathed.

The gentleman that you cannot see in the photo, spent three months in a coma after being t-boned on his motorcycle by an automobile. And because he was used to very short hair, days after waking up all he wanted was a much-needed haircut.

Word went out, and Mission City Barber, Dave Padilla, of Santa Clara, answered the call.

Padilla is no stranger to helping out when help his needed. He, his friend, Evangelina, and other volunteers, have collaborated on an annual backpack and haircut drive for struggling families, so as to ensure that kids start school on the right foot and with the right cut.

When I asked him about the call of duty in the hospital, he quickly said that – like the backpack drive and free back-to-school haircuts — none of it is done for money or exposure. He said that it’s simply done because he’s blessed to be in a position to give back, and feels that it’s his “duty as a human.”

Many of us have been to hospitals for good and, sadly, not-so good reasons. Births are exciting; illnesses are not. It’s fair to say that Padilla isn’t a fan of hospitals, something that most of us can probably empathize with.

And while the decision to cut the patient’s hair in the hospital was an easy one, being away from the shop put Padilla out of his comfort zone. He said that he even lost sleep — in a good and anxious sort of way.

Shortly after arriving, the patient, and his family members, put Padilla at ease. He gave the guy exactly what he wanted: zero on the side, and 1 on the top. He even cleaned up his beard and goatee.

The entire visit was both emotional and eye-opening for Padilla. And it put a lot of things into perspective for the family man.

Over the years he’s learned that the most difficult part of helping people is that there will always be others in need. He’s also learned that hosting a drive often turns into much more than giving away backpacks and haircuts. Sometimes the indomitable human spirit moves people to do more, like buying groceries and shoes for people who are less fortunate.

Dave Padilla will continue to do what he loves. His passion is matched by his own feelings when he says, “a haircut always makes me feel better.”

As for the rest of us, having a person like him in our community, makes us feel better, too.

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