Some men down on their luck got quite the surprise in Downtown Austin. A former homeless man is using his experience on the streets to pay it forward.
“I woke abruptly, I said ‘Man, I am getting up today, and I am going to make a difference,’” said Roger Lopez, also known as Roger the Barber. Roger said at one time in his life, he was down on his luck and homeless.
The situation, while difficult, made him realize the value of people.
“One thing I was lacking was the ability to just have compassion for other people to see what the other man was going through.” He knew he had to make some changes in his life for himself and his family.
“Somebody that was like a mentor to me, he asked me ‘What are you good at? What do you like to do?’ I like making people look good,” he said. 14-months later he became a Texas State Licensed Barber. Now he wants to pay it forward. “I do it so you or the next person can benefit. Maybe if you're looking for a job, you just need a little haircut, a little boost, something to get you going.”
Roger headed to downtown Austin where many members of the homeless community attend a weekly church service. Clippers and scissors in hand, he went to work. “Anything whether it be a haircut, a friend, a mentor, just somebody to help,” he said.
Pastor Dwayne K. Jones with the Paraclete Ministries and holds the weekly service Church Under the Bridge, “I think he's an angel sent for some of these men, we've seen some of these before and after with some of these men, some of them have probably not felt this good in months, maybe even years,” he said. “To know somebody cares enough to take their timeout to come cut hair and shave anybody for free, that's pretty cool,” said one man who got a haircut.
This was the first time Roger the Barber visited and offered free shaves and haircuts, but it won't be the last.