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A mom recalls stylist who took a chance on her when she couldn't afford a haircut

Yvonne (left) and Susan (right).
Susan Haas
Yvonne (left) and Susan (right).

This story is part of the My Unsung Hero series, from the Hidden Brain team, about people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else.

In 2015, Susan Haas was going through one of the hardest periods of her life. She was getting a divorce, and fighting for custody of her son. Haas had just moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia to be closer to him and his father. But she had no friends or family in Virginia. And she needed to find a new job.

"I basically started over and started interviewing, and I got a call back from a company. And they asked me to come in for an interview, and I wanted to look good," Haas remembered. "But I had no money whatsoever."

What she needed most was a haircut and color. She didn't feel comfortable doing highlights herself. And her naturally dark roots were visibly growing out of her dyed blonde hair.

"The roots, I swear, the roots were so dark. I mean, you could plant pansies in those roots," she said. "That's how bad I needed to have a cut and color."

Haas took a chance, and decided to call a salon she had visited when she first moved to Virginia. She asked to talk to the owner, a woman named Yvonne.

"And I said, 'Listen ... I was in there recently, [for] a trim, but I actually have a job interview coming up, and I need to have a full cut and color and highlights and the whole thing."

Haas explained that she was a mom, going through a divorce and a custody battle over her son. In order to have a chance in court, she said, she needed to prove she had a job. Haas explained that she wanted to look her best for the job interview — but that she didn't have any money.

"And so, if you would cut and color my hair ... I will pay you if I get the job out of my first paycheck," Haas told her.

Yvonne told Haas that she was also a mother. And she agreed.

"They did a beautiful job on my hair," Haas said. "And it just boosted my confidence because I had a court date that I had to go to, and it just made me stand a little taller, walking into the courtroom, knowing that I may not have a whole lot of anything right now, but I know that I presented well."

"Even though it was just a little haircut and cut and color, it made a world of difference to me."

My Unsung Hero is also a podcast — new episodes are released every Tuesday. To share the story of your unsung hero with the Hidden Brain team, record a voice memo on your phone and send it to myunsunghero@hiddenbrain.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Laura Kwerel
[Copyright 2024 NPR]