San Francisco barber shares love, respect with 'TenderCuts'

Saturday, March 25, 2017 12:44PM
Raquel Fajardo offers haircutting services for the homeless and anyone in need. She calls her free services, TenderCuts, after the Tenderloin neighborhood where her clients live.


SAN FRANCISCO - ABC7 Stars recognizes local people doing extraordinary things, like Raquel Fajardo who offers haircuts to San Francisco's homeless community free of charge.

Fajardo has no trouble filling her chair. You can ask one of her clients, ABC7 Mornings anchor Reggie Aqui. It can be tough to get an appointment. However, some of her most-valued customers don't need to get on her schedule. They don't even need to pay.

Most of Raquel's clients find her at San Francisco's "Fellow Barber." But if it's a Tuesday and it's relatively calm weather-wise, she can be found in the shadow of the main library near City Hall, clippers in hand.

"For a lot of people out here, I think it's their only chance to get a haircut," Keith O'Donnell said. Fajardo calls her free services for the homeless "TenderCuts," after the Tenderloin neighborhood where many of her Tuesday clients live.

"I have an interview for an SRO today so I might finally get out of the shelter," client Joe Carmichael told Fajardo during a recent haircut.

"Oh my goodness, that is the best news I've heard all day," she responded.

The line of people waiting for cuts wasn't always as long as it is these days. People at first were a little wary. "They didn't understand why someone would want to come out and help them, or talk to them, or be nice to them," Fajardo recalled.

One year later, she and the volunteers she's wrangled to join her have served a thousand people. She's earned people's trust -- and not just because of how she makes them look -- but because of how she makes them feel.

"I feel like a brand new person when I leave your chair and now I see it in these people," Reggie told Fajardo, referring to her clients.

"Yes, it's overwhelming isn't it?" she said. "For me, I usually have my eyewear on because I'm usually tearing up under my glasses, because they're telling me these stories, they're interacting with me. They've lived like, 10 lives that I never could have had the strength to live."

Farjardo can't solve "the homeless problem." But she can solve "a" problem for the homeless people she serves, one beautiful cut at a time. Her next dream is to replicate TenderCuts in cities across the country. Click here to help Fajardo reach her goal on the TenderCuts Gofundme page.

Raquel Fajardo, for sharing your love, service and respect across the streets of San Francisco, ABC7 honors you as one of an ABC7 Stars.

Meet stars from all around the Bay Area and nominate someone you know at abc7news.com/Stars.

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