08/20/2014 at 01:45 PM EDT
In many ways, Mark Bustos
is like a lot of New York City hairstylists. He's tattooed and fashionable and works six-day weeks. It's what Mark does on his one day off, though, that sets him apart from the rest of the city's salon workers.
Since May 2012, Bustos, 30, has spent his Sundays approaching the homeless and needy in Jamaica, Costa Rica and N.Y.C. with one phrase: "I want to do something nice for you today."
That something nice is a haircut, free of charge – a simple gesture that for many of Bustos's "clients" can be their first step towards a major life change.
Bustos told the Huffington Post
that one man's haircut in particular sticks out in his mind: "Jemar Banks – I'll never forget the name. After offering him a haircut and whatever food he wanted to eat, he didn't have much to say throughout the whole process, until after I showed him what he looked like when I was done ... The first thing he said to me was, 'Do you know anyone that's hiring?'"
Bustos's inspiration for his work dates back to a May 2012 visit to the Philippines, when he visited family members and rented a chair from a local barbershop to help impoverished children who needed a trim.
Bustos adds that he makes sure to do his haircuts in "open, well-traveled spaces like street corners and sidewalks" for the public to see – he's hoping others can take some kind of inspiration in his actions.
If there's one thing you can take away from Bustos's actions, it's the hashtag he uses on Instagram: #BeAwesomeToSomebody