Stacey Bachelor is a senior account manager who sells advertising and sponsorship within the digital world.
By his own account the bearded sales executive has never been totally comfortable in a suit.
And so, once a month, Mr Bachelor sheds his corporate skin and sets off to do good things for good people in need.
At Norman Andrew’s House for the homeless, Mr Bachelor the businessman is better known as the bearded barber. And he is much loved.
“I just wanted to give back a little, I guess,” he said.
“My mum had been volunteering for years and basically, yeah, I just wanted to give a little bit.
“So, I have always liked hair and my mates suggested it.”
But as his first clients hit the chair you quickly realise it is about more than just a haircut.
It is about extending the hand of friendship to people who most have turned their backs on.
“I have just learnt that the smallest things make a change,” Mr Bachelor said.
“The haircut’s one thing, trimming a beard takes you 30 seconds… but they’re cool guys, you know.
“It is just sad that people don’t see it that way sometimes.”
If they did, people would think very differently about the homeless guy in the street, he said.
‘They just don’t feel they fit in regular society’
Take Michael, for example. He was once a world-leading concert pianist.
He studied in London and has played in some of the greatest concert halls in the world.
But these days Michael can be found performing at the Wayside Chapel by the Sea.
“I was an alcoholic for 10 years,” Michael told 7.30.
“I drank for 10 years around the clock.
“When I came back to Australia I was drunk 24/7 for 10 years.”
Michael’s life journey is one of pain and dark times.
His slide into alcohol, depression and intermittent homelessness is a common story among Mr Bachelor’s clients.
Another, Rusty, used to be a motorbike stunt rider.
Now he is in rehab and homeless, but he likes it that way.
And then there is Dave, the hostel’s gentle giant.
“Mental health is obviously a massive issue, massive issue,” Mr Bachelor said.
“That is why a lot of these guys are down here. They just don’t feel they fit in regular society.
“They are smart, they are cool dudes but there is something not quite right. But there is no help a lot of the time.”
Barber to the homeless dream fulfilled
Chrissy Ynfante runs the hostel and said she found Mr Bachelor through a friendship with his mother.
“Stacey’s mother had been a long-term volunteer with us and actually his dad has helped as well,” she told 7.30.
“I heard that he was doing his apprenticeship and he told me that one of his dreams was to be able to be a barber to the homeless.”
Mr Bachelor became a barber after completing a seven-week barbering course at Sydney TAFE.
He would head home at the end of the day and practice what he had learnt on his mates until he was ultimately ready to use his skills on his non-paying clients.
“As you can see, my barbering skills aren’t amazing but they are getting there,” Mr Bachelor said, chuckling quietly to himself.
But in the eyes of his clients, he is amazing, and by the look of things their hair cuts are pretty fine, too.
A salon full of happy customers and the barber seems pretty chuffed.
“When you are leaving down here, it feels good,” Mr Bachelor said as he packed up his scissors.
“That is what I get out of it.”
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