Love, Dignity, and a Free Haircut: Hartford's Most Beloved Barber
He's a retired real-estate investor, but to his many clients he's known simply as "Joe the Barber."
Every Wednesday for the past 25 years, Joe has set up shop in the shade of a park in his hometown of Hartford, Connecticut, across the street from a food pantry operated by local churches. Throughout the afternoon he offers a shave and a haircut to the homeless men and women, lined up for a weekly meal, for the price of only one hug.
In June of 2013, Hartford city park officials tried to shut him down for operating without a permit. Fortunately, the city's Mayor Pedro Segarra would have none of that, and intervened personally to allow Joe to keep working in the park, even stopping by for a hug from the beloved barber.
When asked why, Joe responds with a quote from the Gospel: "Whatsoever you do unto the least of my brothers, you do unto me."
He also answers from his heart. "They're my family. They really are my family."
Salvatore, a regular client, smiles as he talks about Joe. "He shows a lot of love, not just to me, but to everybody that comes here."
Two great videos about Joe the barber are below: