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A hairstylist's act of trust gave a woman the confidence she needed

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Time now for "My Unsung Hero," our series from the team at Hidden Brain. "My Unsung Hero" tells the story of people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else. And today's story comes from Susan Haas. In 2015, she was going through one of the hardest times of her life - getting a divorce and fighting for custody of her son. She'd just moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia to be closer to him and his father, but Haas had no friends or family in Virginia and needed to find a new job.

SUSAN HAAS: So I basically, you know, started over and started interviewing. And I got a call back from a company and they asked me to come in for an interview. And I wanted to look good, but I had no money whatsoever. And I did have at the time blonde hair. And my hair needed a really good cut and color. And I'm telling you, the roots, I swear, the roots were so dark. I mean, you could plant pansies in those roots. That's how bad I needed to have a cut and color.

So I called the salon that I had gone to just for a trim when I first got to Virginia, and I asked to talk to the owner, and she got on the phone. And I said, listen, you know, I really don't know you. I was in there recently, had a trim, but I actually have a job interview coming up, and I need to have a full cut and color and highlights and the whole thing. And I'm a mom. I lost custody of my son. And I need to prove that I have an income coming in in order to even start to fight this court battle. And so if you would cut and color my hair. I don't have the money to pay for it right now. However, I will pay you if I get the job out of my first paycheck.

And her name was Yvonne (ph), and she was also a mother. So she took a chance on me. And she said, yeah, you know, I will. She just let me come in. And they did a beautiful job on my hair. And it just made me stand a little taller walking into the courtroom knowing that I may not have a whole lot of anything right now, but I know that I presented well. And that boosted my morale and my confidence that I could tackle this battle. And so for that, also, I have Yvonne to thank, that even though it was just a little haircut and cut and color, it made a world of difference to me.

SHAPIRO: Susan Haas of Virginia Beach. She says she ended up getting the job, reuniting with her son and paying back Yvonne. You can find more stories like this one on the "My Unsung Hero" podcast. And to share the story of your unsung hero, visit myunsunghero.org for instructions on how to send a voice memo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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