NORFOLK, Va. — There’s a lot of buzz surrounding a Norfolk barbershop.
The owner of VIP Lounge, Nado Garcia said he’s trying to change the world one haircut at a time.
For the past five years, he's offered free haircuts to anyone who couldn’t afford one at his two locations in Norfolk.
"Someone always said it, 'If you’re blessed, you need to bless others,'" he explained. "I’m fortunate enough to have my chair full every day so I’m able to help others, why not? A lot of people talk about they want to save the world, but they don’t even save their own communities."
He said a haircut can change someone’s mindset, making them feel happy and more confident in their skin.
"A haircut is about a feeling. It’s like a joke but it’s actually true," he said. "If I look this way and I walk in, when I get a haircut, I’m still the same person, but I don’t feel like the same person, I feel better. I feel uplifting. It’s like a new pair of shoes. It’s something you wear every day."
After a fresh buzz, Garcia wants everyone to feel that confident.
“My doors are always open for anyone who needs a haircut and can’t afford it,” he said.
He said it’s a no-questions-asked kind of policy. He wants to be able to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it, especially around the Christmas holiday.
“At any of my shops, that’s the rule. You walk in here and say, 'Hey, I need a haircut [but] I can’t afford it,' one of my guys is going to service you,” Garcia said. “We won’t treat you different or make you wait until a paid customer goes first. No, you’re going to be treated like another customer.”
It’s that kindness that Garcia hopes inspires change in this community.
"A lot of people might just want a haircut to feel better today and they can’t afford it, come on by," he said. "Like I said, it will get repaid to me somehow, someway one day. I’m not talking financial.”
Garcia said before the pandemic, he went to the Union Mission and offered free haircuts. He urged people not to be embarrassed to stop by.