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Hairstylist Provides Free Haircuts to Thai Health Workers

2020-5-5

Thai hairstylist Pornsupa Hattayong is making medical workers fighting the new coronavirus feel just a little better. She is providing free haircuts for them at hospitals in Bangkok.

Pornsupa says at first she was unsure about offering her service, thinking it was unimportant. But now, she is pleased with the warm welcome she receives from health care workers.

Thailand’s hair shops have been closed for more than a month to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Pornsupa began her free service at the end of March.

In this Tuesday, April 28, 2020, photo, Pornsupa Hattayong gives haircuts to a medical worker treating COVID-19 patients at Bangkok Metropolitan Administration General Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.
In this Tuesday, April 28, 2020, photo, Pornsupa Hattayong gives haircuts to a medical worker treating COVID-19 patients at Bangkok Metropolitan Administration General Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.

On her first hospital visit, Pornsupa had planned on cutting the hair of six health workers. Instead, she gave haircuts to 30 of them. On her second visit, a group of 20 quickly turned into 50.

Pornsupa said, “They just kept coming. Some arrived in their medical gowns and asked if they could get a haircut right away as they had to go to work.”

At that point, she asked her friends to help her.

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration General Hospital is the fourth hospital where she has given haircuts. The team provides about 50 haircuts each day.

For this kind of work, they would normally ask customers to pay 500 baht, or about $15.

Pornsupa wears protective clothing on all parts of her body as she works. She uses a spray containing alcohol on her equipment between customers.

The haircutting team is not paid and Pornsupa says she is living on money she had saved. She adds that she is just proud her skill is making a difference.

She told the Associated Press, “The doctors are so happy to get a haircut. It’s like we lift something off their chest, perhaps not chest but head. I think they feel lighter and relaxed. They all want to do something with their hair so it’s easy to clean and ready for work.”

For Dr. Teerapat Jittpoonkuson, it is the humanity behind the haircut that really counts.

He said, “I don’t feel like this is merely a service I am getting. It feels like more of a kindness given by a group of people to our hospital staff. This is more than just a haircut.”

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Tassanee Vejpongsa reported this story for the Associated Press. Jonathan Evans adapted the story for Learning English. Bryan Lynn was the editor.

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Words in This Story

customer – n. a person who buys from or uses the services of a company especially regularly

proud – adj. very happy and pleased because of something you have done, something you own, someone you know or are related to, etc.; feeling pride

relaxed – adj. calm and free from stress, worry, or anxiety; not worried or tense

merely – adv. nothing else than; just

staff – n. a group of people who work for an organization or business