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All 6-year-old Wyatt needed was a haircut, but for children with autism, that can be harder than it looks. Fortunately, Franz Jakob and his vintage barber shop were there to help.
Pictures of Jakob lying on the ground of his Canadian barbershop while cutting Wyatt's hair have quickly spread, but the boy's mother, Fauve Lafrenière, has been bringing him there since the store opened two years ago.
Now, Jakob often cuts hair for other children with autism. It may have something to do with his and the store's old-school look.
"My shop is completely vintage," Jakob told TODAY of Authentischen Barbier, located in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. "All the walls are jammed with photos and stuff from around here. I think that has a positive effect on the kids. Each time I’m doing it there are no tears, no screams. We enjoy it together. I think the atmosphere of the barbershop helps a lot. I really take my time doing it. I can take up to 90 minutes cutting hair for kids with special needs."
There's a certain order to things with Wyatt, according to Jakob. The young boy will wander around the store and occasionally lay down as Jakob follows, cutting his hair along the way.
The 45-year-old barber also serves terminally ill customers, who want one last fresh cut.
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"The first time was some guy who brought me one of his friends who was in his last hours, and he wanted a shave and a haircut," said Jakob. "It became very emotional, and I said I would do it again. I’m taking great pride doing this. It’s really an honor. We listen to some Hank Williams, and we shave like in the old-school ways."
Jakob has been cutting hair since he was 12. He used to charge $5 for a trim during lunch in high school; now he sees himself as a community leader.
"I have a line each morning out my door," said Jakob. "People drive three or four hours. I’m taking great pride in what I’m doing in my community."