By Jansen Romero
With a pair of old scissors, razor blades, and a broken motorcycle side mirror, 44-year-old construction worker Joseph Dante who lost his job to the pandemic relied on an old hobby to pull him through hard times.
Every morning he occupies a spot on Kalaw Avenue which he turns into his al fresco shop and gives street dwellers and security guards a hair cut for ₱30.
Joseph, a high school graduate, grew up in Caloocan where he learned to haircut from his elder brother.
“Noong High School palang tinuruan na akong mag gupit ng kapatid ko sa Caloocan hanggang nagka-malay at napunta sa Baseco (When I was in high school in Caloocan my elder brother taught me how to do haircuts until I transferred to Baseco),” Joseph told Manila Bulletin.
He lives with his wife Che-Che at Baseco-1, who, like him, is also jobless.
From Baseco, he walks all the way to Kalaw Avenue to give homeless people affected by the lockdown a haircut.
“Paminsan-minsan lalakarin ko hanggang sa Mabini kasi may mga ginugupitan akong mga security guard doon sa mga building, (Sometimes I walk from Baseco to Mabini street to give security guards a haircut,” he shared while trimming the hair of a customer.
Joseph charges P30 for his services although he charges a lower amount when he sees his customer could only afford a few pesos.
Joseph became viral in the social media giving haircut services to the homeless using his old pair of scissors, broken side-mirror from a motorcycle and a dust-filled brush.
On Tuesday, June 16, after warming the heart of netizens, the president of Bruno’s barbershop Marco Pascual gave Joseph new equipment and protective gear to protect him while doing haircuts. There were cheers and applause from street dwellers as Joseph received his new hair-cutting tools.
After the ceremony, Dante crossed Kalaw Avenue to attend to a customer waiting for a haircut in front of a thrift shop in Mabini.
Asked if he’s going back to the construction site, he said,“Nakakapanibago itong mga bagong gunting, pero makukuha ko ‘rin. Pero kung mawala ang lockdown hindi ko alam sir, pakiramdam ko babalik at babalik ako sa pag-gugupit dahil yun ang gusto ko (Am still not used to using new scissors but I can master it in time. I do not know if I will still go back to construction work but I will always go back to do haircuts because this is what I want),” Joseph said with a smile.
For those who want to extend any kind of help to Joseph, you can find him every morning on Kalaw Avenue in front of the National Library.