Stylist Turned Daymaker

A Brief Interaction Changes A Life

By David Wagner

Originally published in ASCP's Skin Deep, September/October 2008.

On a flight home after a hair show, I sat next to a very conservative businessman. He asked, “What do you do?” I said, “I’m a Daymaker.”

He said, “What in the world is that?” I said, “I make people’s day.” That’s how I coined the term—it just came out in the conversation.

Six months later, I was working in my salon when a regular customer came in. I was surprised to see her since it was in the middle of her five-week period between haircuts. She didn’t have anything special going on, but just wanted to look and feel good that night.

I was in a great mood that day. I gave her a great scalp massage and shampoo, then styled her hair. We laughed and joked and entertained each other. When she left, she gave me a big hug that lasted a little bit longer than usual.

Two days later, I got a letter from her. When I started reading it, I froze. She said she had planned to commit suicide that day, and she had come in to get her hair styled so it would look good for her funeral. She said she had changed her mind during her appointment. I had helped her realize her life could be better. She had gone home and called her sister to tell her what she was going through; her sister had taken her to the hospital.

I was stunned. If you had lined up 100 of my clients and asked me to choose the one who was considering taking her own life, she would have been at the end of the list. I had no idea she was in such a dark place. I was glad, and humbled, to have made such a difference. I also felt a little uneasy.

I wondered what would have happened had I been upset or distracted when she had come in and I had just gone through the motions of cutting her hair. I began to feel an enormous sense of responsibility.

How many of the 10 to 15 clients I saw every day might be in a personal crisis and in need of a little extra kindness and attention? I resolved then and there to treat every customer like I had treated that woman.

I often go back to the moment when I opened that letter. I remind myself that days are made of moments, and how I choose to be in those moments is what’s going to determine the quality of my day, which in turn can affect the quality of someone else’s day. What it all comes down to is this: If you’re going to be there, be there. You might be somebody’s only angel of the day.