Georges Atieh has been cutting hair for years, but a recent appointment turned into something a bit more than just trimming some hair.
Atieh was at his GA Barbershop in Foxborough, Massachusetts when Sandra Smith came in. Her husband was typically the one who visited the business, but she was the customer this time. She had recently been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Two months later when her chemo began, she started losing her hair.
Smith told WJAR in Rhode Island, “That is when I actually just felt sick for the first time because I had actually been doing really well with the treatments and just trying to stay positive. For anybody who knew me before I’ve always had very long hair. It’s always been a comfort blanket to me if anything. It was just coming out on pillows and stuff like that for a couple of days, and then finally the night before I came to the barber shop, I took a shower it was just never ending.”
She said she was planning to have her husband shave her head at home, but he insisted that she go to Atieh instead. That’s how she found herself hopping into the barber chair. As they got set up, she told Atieh all the hair had to come off because it just kept falling out.
He knew what to expect because Smith’s husband had filled him in. Before the cut, he set up his phone camera without her knowing, in case she wanted to keep the footage and look back at it later as a memory or share it with others.
As the video progresses and her head is shaved, Smith understandably begins to get a bit emotional. In response, Atieh does something particularly sweet: Takes the clippers to his own head.
He said, “When I started cutting her hair, I saw her start to become emotional, so I decide to support her. I wasn’t planning it, it just how I felt when she told me her story and what she’s going through it just made me do that. I said, ‘I want to support you and now we look the same’.”
The gesture had its intended effect. Smith was deeply touched.
She said, “I definitely didn’t expect that at all. I told myself I wasn’t going to cry while I was shaving my hair off and I was trying to keep calm, but as soon as he did that, it was such a shock but so touching. As soon as he said, ‘We’re the same now,’ I thought it was the cutest thing. It just melted my heart.”
In addition to the positivity the story brings, Smith hopes it will remind younger women that they, too, can get breast cancer. For women who are not yet to regular mammogram stage, she says it’s especially important to do self-examinations.
To watch the heartwarming video, check it out on the barbershop’s Facebook page.Whizzco