It’s a beautiful morning and I’m at the hairdresser’s enjoying a green tea and a chat with Silvia. We’re talking about her trips around the world and how she’s going to start a degree in anthropology.
A woman in a hurry comes into the hairdresser’s. She comes straight to Silvia and tells her:
“I need you to cut my fringe.”
Silvia looks at her and tells her “No, you don’t,” and she asks “What’s wrong? Are you OK today?”
The woman says “ Yes, I’m OK, I just woke up and I felt my hair was looking terrible.”
And out of the blue, Silvia drops the scissors and asks her ‘Do you need a cuddle? Come here, I’m going to give you a hug and get you a green tea.”
So the two women hug, and a minute later the woman is sitting next to me with a green tea in her hands. She quietly says to me: “I’ve had a very bad week.”
Silvia has customers from all over the world. Those of us who left home long ago still come back to her to get a haircut; we bring our mothers, our friends, our kids and our husbands.
She’s a great hairdresser, but she’s not the best, not the cheapest, not the fastest, not the one with the most awards, not the one in the best location, not the one with the best webpage or social media: her thing is radical empathy; her thing is daring to give a hug instead of a haircut. Her thing is humanity.
The unique story of why people keep coming to you might be related not only to your expertise and qualifications but also to what you do when you have the opportunity to behave like a human.