Brain of Jay



Be Awesome To Somebody: A Day in the Life of Mark Bustos


“I want to change the world, one haircut at a time.”


Too often, we face the battle of life purpose, and it is easy to surrender to the manipulation of conformity, for our surroundings are accustomed to a turbulent bubble that trapped our true expression. We are victims of settling for others’ desires; it is easier to take orders and head nods in exchange for money. We accept the trading offer of service for money in the blink of an eye, but the vision we behold is truly blinded by the countless hourly rates of currency exchange—in our case, the dollar. It has become the sole aspiration of our culture; it has hindered our true life purpose.

Frequently, we strive for success to withhold a certain quantity of dollars to enhance our status quo in our belief that a simple note sustains our power and freedom and grants us happiness. The mask we slap on our faces to succeed has hidden the face we hold, for this is why we are always unsure of what we live for. The mask attaches to our flesh, slowly deteriorating our pure being, which causes us to continually try and grasp for more: more of what we don’t really want, more of what we already have, and whom we must please, or become, in order to the attain the power and freedom, which never even really existed. Our desires have become mere afflictions due to the mirage of success and happiness that others have falsely created.

Our world has painted a glorified picture of success to keep average human beings at bay—what we would label now as “normal.” The image is embedded into our subconscious by the constant drilling of “You should do this!” and “You shouldn’t do that!” It is an unruly understanding that suppresses mankind. We do things based on what people say, opposed to what we feel. We follow in the footsteps of qualifications and rankings, opposed to taking the steps on our own. We get so wrapped up in the plastic world of materialism that we completely forget the value of ourselves, forget the special gifts that we each possess to share with the world and help one another, erase the quality of our crafts needed to create and help fulfill the absence of joy.

Somewhere down the line, we all get lost searching for our purpose and can’t see through the foggy nights of confusion, but once in a while a light peaks through the clouds and reminds us what our life purpose is. For me—as well as many others—that light was Mark Bustos.



12143141_10153078675875951_7395768713769206127_nMark Bustos at the Philippine Islands giving haircuts to the less fortunate.

One day, Bustos decided that he was going to share his crafty talents and provide haircuts to less fortunate people. During one of his trips to the Philippines, he brought his talents overseas to cut hair for third-world country children that couldn’t afford haircuts. At that moment, he realized how much of an impact a “simple” haircut could make. A haircut is not only a haircut. It makes people feel a certain joy, confidence, and happiness, and to be able to bring that smile to another human is immeasurable. The greatest joy in life is being able to share your joy with others—and Mark Bustos has proven just that.

“Every human life is worth the same.”



Since 2003, Bustos and I have been great friends, and we worked together for four to five years at MODA Hair Studio in Nutley, NJ, spending countless hours together on and off the clock. We had a great team of barbers: Michael Tenorio, Stefano Shivone, Will Araneta, his cousin Rob Capilli, and owner Chris Graffeo. We were much more than a great team of barbers and co-workers; we were family. Hair styling was our trade, and it was a craft we were very good at, specifically men’s barbering. In 2008, we all, somewhat, parted and went our separate ways, but that never affected our connection and friendship. Michael and I went off to open our own men’s salon, along with Stefano; Bustos and his cousin Rob went off to work in NYC; Will got his college degree for PT (physical therapy); and Chris decided to become a stay-at-home father to raise his two boys. But since we didn’t work together anymore, we only saw each other occasionally, but we always kept up with each other’s lives.



A few years later, around 2014, Bustos decided to take his sharing joy experience from the Philippines back to the United States and walked the streets of NYC to give homeless people fresh haircuts. Every Sunday he and his girlfriend would go out of their way and help others in need. Their humble generosity was coming from a pure place; the joy that had been injected into their hearts from the previous trip to the Philippines had rapidly increased into an ambiance that they couldn’t wait to ignite throughout the lonely, sorrowful streets of the concrete jungle. They figured that if they could uplift the low spirits of the ones who seemed to have lost their way by servicing the human spirit with humility and a pair of scissors, then why not? Why not help one another with guidance by simply giving someone a haircut. That’s when they started the #BeAwesomeToSomebody movement.

Shortly after starting his weekly Sunday ritual, Bustos’s good deed started to be recognized. His social media account gained more followers than Mein Kampf. The global uproar from his beneficence had spread his face all over the world. I decided to text him to see what the fuss was all about. It was obvious his movement had started to gain momentum.

“Yo, your account is going nuts; what happened?” I was curious. I already knew why, but I just wanted to know how.

“Yeah, man, Huffington Post did a write up about me and then Elite Daily and then everyone else followed. My phone is going crazy! I don’t even know what to do.” His excitement was putting him at awe, he was in such shock of how fast his movement became public. The recognition of his Be Awesome To Somebody movement was more than glorifying.

It all started with a simple craft that became a talent, which led to sharing the positive powers your craft attains. The recognition for his public philanthropy made him an overnight star. This man understood his purpose, a purpose we all need to grasp in life: to share our high spirits with one another and fulfill the happiness we all search so hard for. Time is valuable and is nonrefundable; we must spend more time sharing what we already have and recognizing the powers held in our hearts. Searching for happiness is an endless, endless scavenger hunt that will burn us into ashes if we are not aware of what we presently possess, what we have in the moment, and sharing our wisdom is where we will find our true happiness. This particular movement is what moved me.

“Yo, mang, do you care if I come out with you one Sunday? I just really want to experience your movement,” I asked.

“Yeah, bro, you could come out with me every Sunday.” Reading Bustos’s response shot a positive electric charge throughout my body and crystallized into a formulation joyful tears. After all his “fame,” interviews, and radio and TV shows, he still made room to let me come along on his joyride. Now that’s a true friend, a true brother; Mark Bustos is a true leader.

“Thank you, brother; that really means a lot to me. See you then.” I was humbled.



February 8, 2015, I had the honor of following the philanthropist footsteps of Mark Bustos, accompanied by his girlfriend (Lucille Javier) and photographer (Devin). Walking through the concrete jungle of NYC, Mark was lugging around a backpack of his tools to perform haircuts for the homeless, and his girlfriend had put together a goody bag of hygienic essentials to also provide for the less fortunate. This crew was on a “Bowery Mission.”

We strolled our way toward the Bowery Mission (homeless shelter) and stood in front where some of the homeless people hangout. Bustos approached a couple of the men standing there. “Hey, I got something special for you guys.”

Completely defensive, the two men were awkwardly curious of what Bustos had to offer, “Huh? Well, whatchu got?”

“I’m going to give you guys haircuts today.”

“OH DAMN! HELL YEAH. Oh, wait, this the man right here! This the man that be giving everybody haircuts!” It seemed that Bustos’s popularity had not only grown in the public eye of entertainment, but also on the streets. One man was so excited he grabbed his cane and started marching down Bowery as if he’d seen Santa Claus on Christmas morning; it’s safe to assume he will take up this offer.

“Oh, word? I need one, too!” His buddy decided to come along as well.

Walking down Bowery, Bustos engaged in conversation and wanted to know more about the two gentlemen, “Hi, I’m Mark,” he said and firmly shook their hands to ensure their comfort.

“I’m Kenny, and this is my brother James.”

“Nice to meet you guys,” James said.

“Like, you guys are blood brothers?” Mark asked.

“Na, we brothers from another mother! After knowing and hanging around with someone for twenty years, they become your family.” Kenny and James were happy to share their stories with Mark. I mean, after all, he was giving them free haircuts!

James opened up a little more, and explained why he was walking with a cane. “I was hit by a car a few years back. Doctors said I would never be able to walk the same again.” He continued to limp and walk with his gangster lean to the best of his ability, and seemed like every day it was a struggle to walk around. “When I was younger, I had more respect for the elderly than kids do nowadays. There are times when kids aren’t afraid to push a homeless man walking with a cane.” Growing up in the street of Manhattan, at the age of forty-three but twenty years homeless, James was concerned about the youth not understanding what respect is—I couldn’t agree with him more.

A simple conversation is a wonderful way to connect. We take that ability for granted. We don’t know what others have gone though and why they are who they are. Too often we are quick to slam down the gavel like Judge Judy, and never really open our intuition to understand other humans’ feelings. Our purpose in life is to connect, and what better way to connect than simply to converse?


After the conversation, Bustos unstrapped his utility luggage and broke out the essentials: scissors, straight blades, hair clippers, combs—I mean the works—this guy was packing heat. He is a master at his craft, and he leaves no room for error. He provides the same upscale service for every human being that sits down for a haircut; whether in a styling chair at his high-end salon or outdoors in the snow on top of a public park bench—every human gets treated as a human.

I came that day packing a notebook and writing utensils to write down my observations. Within seconds of my viewing, I put everything in my hands back in my pockets, so I could witness this magical moment. This experience was more than what I had thought it to be. I didn’t want to miss a beat and wanted to absorb the cultivating energy that was swarming the horizon. The quiet park had put my thoughts to silence; the sub-zero air had wind-chilled my face numb from all outside distractions; my ears were funneling the steady joyful sounds of hair clippers that vibrated my entire body into an ease. Seated in a Cris-Cross Apple Sauce position with my freezing bum in the snow, the ambient moment of peace had frozen my ego, and melted into the warmth of humbleness

This scene, above, instantaneously brought tears to my eyes. I then realized what one of life’s purposes was meant to be. That purpose is to feel free in the moment of stillness.

When he was finished, he took pictures of their haircuts and showed them what they looked like. I had never seen two human beings so happy from getting their haircuts. Their ecstatic reaction with their ear-to-ear smiles lit up the sky. This moment of stillness was pure joy, and indescribable, to say the least.

“Here you go; check yourself out!” Bustos was anxious to show them how great they looked.

“AWWWWW SHIT!” James couldn’t believe his own eyes. He hadn’t smiled at his own reflection in decades, but with a little touch of magic from the clippers, that smile brought everyone to a heaven-sent atmosphere.

“WHERE’S ME! WHERE’S ME!” Kenny was anxious as well and couldn’t wait to see his transformation.

Too often, we drown ourselves in the noise of distractions, get tangled up in the hustle-bustle arena, playing every man for themselves—killing each other over nothing, just to stand on an imaginary pedestal that our culture created with labels. The social pressure will always haunt us until we rest in peace, but we shall not suffocate ourselves from speaking, thinking, feeling, and acting in ways that enhance our true integrity. Our true behavior, our initial reactions are the ones that mold the casket to our happiness. We need to free ourselves from the complacency of the “normal” world, rebel against all “normal” doings, and lift our faces from the hypnosis of “normal” life and reach out to change another human being by simply expressing our true self . . .

And that life purpose, Mark Bustos has mastered. Thank you, Bustos, for showing me an experience that changed my life forever. Your wisdom will prevail . . .

Be Awesome To Somebody


Mark Bustos and Philips Norelco’s Video



“We all chase dreams, we all capture personal success, we all reach a certain level of happiness, and we all attain something special inside—yet rarely do we share our powers. Contributing the talents, creativity, and powers we possess for ourselves is selflessness. Our actions shall not be manipulative to control others’ actions for our personal “well-being.” That’s what “BOSSES” do—not LEADERS. A boss has control whereas leaders take control. A true leader shares his or her raw talents through personal wisdom, spreads knowledge from experience, and leads others in the right direction by acting. Leadership is a characteristic developed by being yourself in the purest form. Leaders lead by example. Leaders give back. Leaders pave the path for others to grow . . . Be a Leader, Not a Boss.”



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