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Holiday haircuts a gift from the heart

News for 12.22.16
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By Beth Spotswood • Published: December 21, 2016

An adult client of the Gatepath Family Resource Center caught a glimpse of his new haircut in the mirror at the San Mateo Zoo barbershop. “I look good,” he beamed. “Boom!”

The small barbershop is normally closed on Mondays, but this week, owner Travis Sweeney opened it to give free haircuts to the children and adults who use the programs at Gatepath, a 95-year-old San Mateo nonprofit serving people with special needs and disabilities. Sweeney, the proud father of a 2-year-old special needs daughter, happily dusted hair from the shoulders of the day’s clients.

A small Christmas tree stood by the front door, which was left open to busy South El Camino Real and the bright winter day. One little boy was terrified of the electric razor. He clutched his mother as he endured his first trim, refusing to be distracted by an iPhone. In another vintage barber chair, an adult Gatepath client happily removed his red sequined fedora and grinned at his barber.

The heavily tattooed Sweeney remained calm, occasionally grabbing a broom to sweep hair from the floor. “I told Pete I’d like to do something, to give back,” said Sweeney, referring to Peter Caraher, a Gatepath coordinator who has worked with Sweeney and his wife to unite them with resources for their daughter. “When he suggested haircuts for the holidays, I was like, ‘Done.’”

Read the full article in The San Francisco Chronicle