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  • Had a barber in Miami, Rene. He was old school down to hot towels and razor-shaving necks. Like when I was a kid. There were always guys waiting for Rene, mostly firemen from a nearby station to get their weekly shearing. They were friendly and would always start up a conversation. Some brought Cuban coffee to share.

    I was in a hurry one lunchtime when I ran in to get my hair cut. There was a kid in the chair who would not settle down, and squirmed away each time Rene came close with the scissors. I was losing patience with the kid, but Rene was so kind. "Almost done, almost done, just one more and we're done." I'd have been done long ago. Then I saw the boy's mother standing near, nervous. The boy was autistic. And there was Rene, kind, "Almost done, just one more, Almost done."

    When Rene finished, the little boy's mother paid and you could see how grateful she was. And the kid walked out with a good haircut. Rene smacked the chair a couple of times with his towel to knock hair off, and motioned me to the chair. He started to cut my hair. Then stopped. He quietly said "excuse me" and went in the back. He came out and started again. Then stopped again. I looked up. He was crying. "That mother...that mother she has it so hard, I know how she feels." It was all I could do to hold it until I got back in my car.
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