(firstly apologies for this blog coming to you a day late, i wrote it friday morning but we had problems uploading the video, but i thought it was worth waiting for, i hope you agree, so imagine you are reading this on friday morning, thanks for your patience, and i hope you enjoy the video)
it is 5.30 and i've been up for an hour, because i couldn't sleep, today feels like the day after winning a playoff final, or summiting an 8000m peak, why, what great achievement have i accomplished to make me wake before the world stirs?
last night i saw a group of people come together to help another group of people, who for whatever reasons are not in a good place, and i saw something amazing happen, what i saw was raw and natural, and what i saw was love.
the alcoholic who sat having his haircut whilst regaling stories of how he was a carpenter who worked on the building of main st in disneyland, and travelled the world, but hit the bottle, and couldn't escape it's evil clutches, addiction is a cruel partner.
one girl who had her hair cut and told us she felt like a princess as she fluffed it up with her hands with child like excitement, and another girl who picked up a sweatshirt from the many clothing donations that people have made, with a bright gold star on it, and told us it was beautiful, and that she was going to wear it at christmas, romance, symbolism, our night had it all.
as we unpacked our cars with tables and chairs for the hairdressers, and bag, after bag, after bag of neatly sorted and labelled 'coats', 'hats and scarves', 'sleeping bags' etc, the people that i had reached out to on facebook and twitter 8 days prior to this, had done themselves and us proud, and the expressions on the homeless folk of cardiff's faces were pictures as they absorbed the fact that we were giving them warm clothes galore for them to take and use in a way that hopefully made their tough existences somewhat more comfortable, even if only in a small way.
when our two amazing volunteer hairdressers aaron rogers and ian davies arrived and set up, i did not know how this dream was going to pan out.
i have been following mark bustos on instagram for some time, and as i mentioned last week he cuts homeless folk's hair stateside, and i hoped we could emulate him, and get the same kind of results in wales.
as i approached the first couple of homeless guys, i don't think they could believe what we were offering to do for them, and understandably so, as their lives are normally lived within a society who, on the whole judge them, mock them, and don't tend to offer kindness or love towards them, so tonight as well as getting food given to them, they were being given bags of warm clothing and now a free haircut, i think a few of them truly wondered if they were dreaming.
as the first cuts of aaron and ian's blades cut through the tangled, dirty mane's that their new clientele possessed, under the fluorescent lights that illuminated their newly fashioned workstations, and the conversations started, and the lifestories were told, i became very aware that people's hearts were getting lit up as well.
check out the difference in brian's facial expression as well as his haircut in these two pictures, truly amazing.
as the last haircut was finished on the most polite young man who as he had told us was an ex con, we said goodbye to him and the last of the homeless people that had attended, and all the volunteers just grinned at each other in a kind of way we didn't need to verbalise, the night had been a huge success, and our hairdressers committed to come next month, and the four friends of mine who had volunteered for the first time, also concurred that they too would be in attendance in four thursday's time.
so that is my story, and it personifies what i had hoped bigmoose would be all about, and i would love it if you are reading this that if it touches something inside you, that you look at doing something similar. it doesn't have to be on this scale, it could just be getting some warm gear that you will never wear again, and dropping it to a homeless shelter in your area, but it will take effort, and you will need to google where they are, and you may need to make a special journey to drop the stuff off, but i tell you what, when it is freezing out in winter, and these people are sleeping outside, you will feel good about yourself, so do it, commit today to spend some time and putting a little effort in to help others, don't just talk about it, don't say i've always wanted to do something, commit to do it today, and follow through on that commitment, and then tell us about what you get up to, we'd love to hear your stories.
finally, i'm sorry but i've gotta namecheck some awesome folk who help every month or especially last night, sian gunney, pete hibbard, kelly vanner, matthew pritchard, ian davies, aaron rogers, sean ward, steve copeland, steve western, and chris bell and his crew, all the the people that donated warm stuff from facebook and twitter, and lastly my own three amazing girls, tania, tiffany, and chloe, i don't normally do that kinda thing, but everybody really deserves a mention.
the 'grab your coat' project doesn't stop here though, we have a plan for something even bigger, to keep things going as things get colder, so keep checking our social media feeds, and follow us and join us on our journey.
oops one more final final thing, we are also announcing on social media this sunday, an amazing 2015 event, that will make you smile, and hopefully want to come along and join in, so keep watching, and tell all you friends about bigmoose, and what we're up to.
so until next week, i'll be seeing ya,