Sara Verkuilen, an Illinois based hairstylist was left with an unexpected letter written by a man who visited her with his wife for a haircut shortly before Christmas of last year. The husband whose wife sadly passed away in March after suffering from dementia was deeply moved after Sara made a great impression by showing patience and great kindness.
“You treated her as if you’d been working with dementia patients all your life,” the husband recalls in the letter. “You let us sit next to each other, and when it came time for her cut you turned her chair towards me so I could watch her expression as you cut her hair.”
Describing his late wife's most recent haircut as "one of the last, best moments of her life," he continued by writing “She felt so pretty. She visited the mirror in her bathroom several times during the day and would come out beaming." He added, "To see her so happy was priceless," and concluded by writing, "Looking back, it was likely one of [the] dozens of haircuts you gave that day. But one which revitalized a woman’s sense of self and her singular beauty. I hope you always realize the power of your profession. It’s so easy to take things like that for granted."
Receiving the heart-wrenching message, Sara posted the letter which has since gone viral to Instagram along with the caption: “This is why I love what I do. Thank you for this letter,” she explained, "I just try to treat everyone that sits in my chair with basic human respect."
With no previous training in dealing with customers diagnosed with dementia, Sara's advice for other stylists would be, "to just treat them as you would any other client. Sometimes things take a little longer, and it’s tough in our career because time is money but hairstylists are a special breed of people. We often do it for passion more than the money.”
After being made redundant for several months as a result of the pandemic, Sara added, “I was out of work for a few months. The company I work for went bankrupt and almost closed my salon forever so it was a wild rollercoaster of emotions.”
Thanks to the letter and since returning to work at a family-owned salon, Sara now feels appreciated and inspired as ever to continue being a positive force in the world.
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