Given the direction to an aisle, we thanked the young man and began to walk away.
“Could I ask you ladies something”?
We stop and turn our attention back to him.
Him: How old do you think I look?
Lauré and I glance at each other. This is a mostly retirement area, and we’ve been asked this question a lot by seniors (a lot!), which can be an uncomfortable moment. We had talked about this weird obsession of age concern just the other day. However, up to now, neither one of us had anyone under the age of 80 pose the question. We must have both looked a bit quizzical, because he repeats his question.
Me: Yes, I’d guess late 20’s as well.
In a kind of surprised but pleased manner, he answers: 29. Everyone always thinks I look much younger.
L says something about how good the beard looks.
Jason (the name on his name tag) begins to explain to us about how best to trim a beard. Now, remember, he’s talking to two older ladies. We may get a whisker now and then that we pluck, but last I looked we both are pretty clean shaven.
Ever the Human Resource Manager, I ask, “Ever think about becoming a Barber”?
Jason, his eyes lighting up: I would love to be a Barber. I love to cut hair, too.
Giving him full attention, he shares his story. He cannot go to Barber school at this time because
- His mother has had many major medical issues and he’s helping pay for the medical expenses not covered by insurance. So has to work full-time
- He’s a High School dropout who made bad choices (but has cleaned up his act)
- Doesn’t have the money to take the GED test, nor the time or money to take classes to help him pass the GED itself
We can see that he’s struggling with the obligation to help his mom, yet wanting his own personal development and dreams. And, he’s very sweet.
L and I give him some suggestions, such as finding resources on the internet. We assure him that he can find a way to follow his dream of going to Barber or Cosmetology school. I tell him that I will pray for his mother’s healing.
On the way home with our sad looking vegetables, we talk about his plight. I look up information on how to acquire a GED in Florida. Costs $128 just to take the tests. Costs more for tutorials and materials, even through the library system.
Seems wrong to make people pay for such a thing. How can we jump to free college tuition if we have a gap on High School diplomas? Does Bernie Sanders know about this?
L, Sarah and I are looking into some resources for Jason. Any ideas would be helpful!