PORTLAND, Ore. — Angel Carbajal has been cutting hair for as long as he can remember.
"I do a lot more than a lot of other barbers will do or try to do because I want a lot of people to have the experience," said Carbajal.
A long battle with drug addiction landed him in and out of jail a few times but he wanted to make a change.
"Instead of accepting the bad in my life, I decided I wanted to jump in and get my business going," said Carbajal. "So I did a large amount of time back in the 90s and then I came home and when I came home I decided to go to barber college.”
He got his barber license.
When COVID-19 hit this year, business slowed down for Carbajal. But he thought those out on the street could use his services. “I am in recovery myself if I was to continue to go that route, I could be that guy on the floor, that gentleman that’s suffering through all those times," said Carbajal.
About three weeks ago he started showing up at different spots in Portland to give free haircuts to the homeless. He has so far given about 10 haircuts. His friend Brian Suarez is now helping, hoping to bring that number up.
"That’s what matters at the end of every day, that if we can do something for somebody might not be the biggest thing in the world but we are doing something," said Suarez, who is also in recovery.
For Carbajal, the reactions he gets from people getting the haircuts are enough as a payment.
"They are like 'Man I feel good' even though they are going to go back out in the cold and go stay wherever they’re staying at whatever position they’re in, for that moment I’ve seen a smile and that means everything," said Carbajal.
He plans to give out more free haircuts after Christmas and will post details on his Facebook page.