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Barber offers free haircuts on the street after he loses his shop


By Joe Donlon, Edie Kasten

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    CHICAGO (WBBM) — There’s just something about a haircut that can make you feel great, and when you’re feeling kind of hopeless, it can really make a difference.

A suburban man made it his mission to change that outlook for people living on the streets. He’s one of Chicago’s Hidden Gems.

Chicago’s Michigan Avenue is loud, bustling, and “magnificent.” On any given day, there’s no telling what you might hear and see, but CBS 2 definitely wasn’t expected to see free haircuts on the sidewalk.

Every Wednesday, Omar Abuawad, also known as “Omar the Barber,” can be seen on the Mag Mile sidewalks.

Abuawad gives haircuts to “as many [people] as I can find,” he said.

He makes a buzz by making his clients, who have virtually nothing, feel like a million bucks. Many, like Troy Brown, haven’t been in a chair like Abuawad’s for a really long time.

So, when was the last time Brown had a haircut?

“I’d say about six, seven months ago for my birthday,” he said.

Abuawad does it with no shop, no fancy swivel chair, and no money. So, why does he do it?

“Without a haircut, a people feels depressed, stressed out,” Abuawad said. “Once you get that haircut, you feel like no matter what you’re going through in life, you feel like a brand new person.”

Abuawad’s been through his own challenges. He taught himself how to cut hair 14 years ago and worked his way up to having his own shop.

But it all came crashing down last October.

“A car crashed straight into our shop,” he said. “A lady lost control and just crashed into the building, and now, I got no store.”

But it also gave him time to to give back to his community, and “show the world there’s still good out here,” he said.

His clients feel it.

Reporter: “When you looked in that mirror Troy, and saw yourself, how’d you feel?”

Brown: “I felt good. I’m like man, I forgot I look this good.”

And Abuawad feels pretty good, too.

Reporter: “How does it feel to you when you wrap up a haircut?”

Abuawad: “When I wrap up a haircut, I’m the man. I feel good. I feel good. I made someone’s day.”

Oh, and he gives out more than just haircuts.

“I’ve got turkey sandwiches,” Abuawad said, showing CBS 2.

He’s feeding the body and the soul.

Abuawad said he’s just doing for his clients what he’d want someone to do for him if he ever needs it. He sends out his word on social media on TikTok and Instagram.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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