It’s Friday and it is 3 o’clock in the afternoon. All the neighbours of 21-24 town that walk by Gaby’s barber shop, stop and ask for the cost of the different hair cuts. The place is warm and austere, but the music sounds loud enough to welcome in the costumers with good energy. The hair cutter and the shaving razor are ready to do magic.
Gabriel Heredia is 20 years old and he’s a barber. He was born without hands. But despite that, he does brilliant work. He says that he started working when he was 14. His mother inspired him because she is a hairdresser. “She taught me some techniques,” he relates. But he always wanted more. He wanted to try new haircuts. He desired to make original designs with hair and non-typical cuts. So one day he made a decision: he started practising over and over again. “I looked at the musicians’ cuts and I loved them. I knew that I wanted to do that,” he says.
Doing Things by Himself
Gaby describes his childhood as a very happy period, “I was born this way. But I did a lot of different things,” and he did them alone, “I have learnt to serve a glass of water by myself, I’ve studied, I’ve learnt to ride a bike, a motorbike, and even to drive a car. But if I couldn’t do something, my mother helped me.” He also adds, “for me it’s normal because I didn’t know something different.”
When you think of children, it’s impossible not to imagine their time at school. He had never felt discriminated by his mates, “They always made me feel good. My friends were incredible,” he remembers happily.
Gabriel’s family always supports him, that’s why he could learn his profession and progress day by day, despite his difficulties. Gaby was raised in a working-class family full of love and motivation.
In fact, his family helped him to open his first barbershop in San Isidro. He worked there for one year and a half and he learned a lot of things. He also got his own customers and he met Zlatan Gomez, the president of Argentina Corta (an organization that connects barbers from different places).
A Positive Change
Three months ago, he started a relationship with Yanina. When she found out that it was difficult for him to pay the shop costs, she offered for him to move to a shop in 21-24 town. Besides the fact that they don’t have to pay rent because it’s Yanina’s aunt’s shop, boys in the new place prefer the kind of cut that Gaby does.
They opened the shop together a month ago and they have a lot of customers. “The thing that I like the most of my job is that people feel comfortable and stylish with my cuts and that makes me feel happy,” says Gaby, a little ashamed but very proud.
The lack of his hands had never been an impediment. Today he is a meticulous, perfectionist barber, well-known and requested by his customers. But he always wants to progress, “I want my shop to be the best and to have another barber shop too,” he ends.
A Very Supportive Father Immersed in Social Issues
Gabriel is part of Argentina Corta, a group of voluntary barbers that work for free in humble neighbourhoods and teach the profession to people of different ages, so they can have another tool to get a good job.
Being a model for his son
Gabriel has an eleven-month-old son called Tobías. “He gives me strength,” says Gaby, very moved. And he adds, “I want to raise him with this message: there is nothing you can’t do. You have to improve yourself day by day. I would like him to do sports and to also learn my profession.” Gabriel relates that he is Tobías’s personal barber, “I cut his hair and he doesn’t move, instead, he laughs. I try new designs in his hair and he loves it. When he grows up, I’m going to teach him the profession, so he can be a barber too,” he says proudly.