I was once in a salon for a haircut and met all the experienced guys already busy and with other customers waiting their turn.
There was a vacant seat for barbing but no one was willing to take it because the only available hand was that of the apprentice.
The petite looking boy has heen a regular face in the salon for the last 3 months, watching and learning as the experienced folks did their thing.
As soon as he saw me, he searched my eyes for a clue to know if I would take a chance on him. I suspect he did the same with the others, but didn’t get any positive response.
I asked if he could barb low cut and he said yes, so he took the clipper and got myself dressed for the service.
He started with the lower end of my hair, expectedly, and he was doing fine until I felt a sharp sting on my ear. I instinctively let out a shout and held my ear. I was bleeding.
The dude had used the clipper on my ear in the process of trying to clear hair within the region.
I was hurt and disappointed. The waiting clients gave me an I-told-you-so look while the other barbers were apologizing and scolding the apprentice. He was also apologizing profusely.
My first reaction was to ask the guy to stop what he was doing as I applied methylated spirit to stop the bleeding.
While I was doing that, I was looking at the guy and thinking about how he must be feeling. I remembered being in his position once, at work, some years ago.
My boss had instructed me to write a keynote speech for the MD. The normal process was to write, review with my boss and make corrections before sending to the next level.
But that particular day, the request came around 4pm and I was to close by 5. I did not like that the task would make me work late, so I quickly scribbled something.
By the time I was done, it was 5:25pm and my boss had left. I mysteriously didn’t think through the process, so I sent it straight to the MD, raw and unedited, and I went home.
When I returned to the office the next morning, I met a stern looking boss who had all the stinkers he could muster. A review of the job I had done and sent to the MD had me ashamed of myself. I had made a lot of schoolboy errors in content and context. It was very bad!
According to my boss, the MD was ready to serve a query to the person responsible and ordered that the person should never be given any writing to do, ever again!
My boss stood in for me and we sat together to make all the corrections before sending back to the MD.
I thought I was truly done with writing under my boss until he came with another speech writing after 3 weeks.
When he saw the surprise on my face, he said it’s normal for young people to make mistakes. They should be scolded, taught right and encouraged, not battered, discouraged and broken.
I immediately realized that asking the young apprentice to stop barbing might kill his confidence. So, I went back to my seat, asked him to be more careful and sat as he completed the job.
This is to encourage everyone reading this. Mistakes are what they are – mistakes. Everyone deserves a second chance at least.
Giving a second chance to people might just be the difference between them becoming a hero or fading into oblivion.