An ‘everyday hero’ barber who lay on the floor to cut an autistic boy’s hair in order make him feel comfortable, has received worldwide praise.
And the phone in Franz Jakob’s barber shop has been ‘constantly ringing’ since the appointment with six-year-old customer, Wyatt Lafrenière.
Fauve, Wyatt’s mum, took a photo of Franz lying on the floor to finish off her son’s haircut and posted it on social media site Imgur.
Franz owns an old-fashioned barber shop in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, which just celebrated its second anniversary.
There are several regular customers with autism, Wyatt being the youngest, writes CBC News.
Fauve calls Franz ‘an everyday hero’, saying:
He takes care of everything and I don’t even get involved. It takes a load off my shoulders.
Lafrenière said Wyatt is both hyposensitive and hypersensitive, meaning at times, he doesn’t feel pain, but having his hair touched can also be unbearable.
Franz spends more than an hour with each of his young customers and makes sure he locks up to avoid noise, which is often stressful for people with autism.
— Jake Vincent (@cantgiveup37) October 8, 2017
I understood that with Wyatt I have to follow him around the salon with my tools to finish the cut.
I lock the front door. It has to stay quiet.
Franz said the barber shop wall is full of memorabilia and the old-time atmosphere seems to work, as well as having candy nearby, adding:
It’s all part of customer service.
Usually hairdressers sort of panicked when they saw Wyatt arrive, so it was really exceptional to meet Mr. Jakob.
He welcomes him like his best friend. To see that he accepts these differences is just fantastic.
Fauve then posted the photo to her Facebook page and said she was ‘surprised’ to see it shared so much, adding:
Maybe it will open people’s eyes that there are other ways to approach differences.
We need more people in the world like Franz Jakob
— Myka Hartwell (@mykaj82) October 10, 2017
Franz, who’s been a barber since the age of 12, tried out his first mohawks and spike designs on friends.
He said he’s touched by people reacting so positively to the photo of him and Wyatt, from places as far away as Japan.
We need more Franz Jakob s in the world, thank you Franze!
— Yvon Zinter? (@Yvon_Zinter) October 10, 2017
Last week in the UK, shops and restaurants dimmed their lights and turned down the music to host the first nationwide ‘quiet hour’ aimed at providing people with autism ‘a break from the overload of too much information’.
Businesses took an hour out each day last week to create a quiet and calm setting to help make shopping experiences more enjoyable for those who have autism.
All 14 Intu shopping centres across the country took part and worked alongside the National Autistic Society, bringing awareness to autism.
This isn’t a new concept as Toys’R’Us received widespread support when it held a quiet hour across its stores in October last year.
Considering around 700,000 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum – meaning autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people – this should be made a regular thing.
Who’s with me?