For 25 years, Anthony Cymerys has headed down to Hartford’s Bushnell Park to offer haircuts to the homeless. His price was always the same – a haircut for a hug.
Cymerys, 82, started this weekly routine after being inspired by a church sermon about caring for the homeless. Cymerys uses a car battery to power his clippers and is affectionately called “Joe the Barber.”
But local Hartford legislators don’t seem to appreciate Anthony’s service as much as his clients do. Citing safety concerns, the city government has asked Cymerys to – at least in the meantime – stop his hugs-for-haircuts program.
City health officials don’t want Cymerys gone forever, though. They’re currently figuring out how they can let Cymerys keep doing what he does in a more controlled environment. Surely, Cymerys and his clients hope the situation is resolved sooner rather than later.
The famous park barber, who retired from a career in business, loves and believes in what he does.
"It really is love. I love these guys. You know I love you, right?” Cymerys recently said to a client while cutting his hair.
"That's what it's all about," he added.
Update: He's been granted a reprieve.