Khao came to America from Thailand when he was twenty-five. He didn't know any English and his first job was working in the kitchen of a Thai restaurant washing dishes and eventually working his way up to cooking food, too. He was thankful to be in America and to be making some money, but he wanted to have a career. Khao started taking English classes at the library and once he had some keywords and phrases down, he enrolled in hairdressing school. While going to school, he continued to work at the restaurant and also found a part-time job sweeping and maintaining a hair salon (the salon that he is still at today). It took him a year to graduate and the rest is history.
Khao's story is really sticking with me today. In education, we know how important it is to build relationships and actively listen. Today I experienced this in the hair salon with Khao. I'm so glad I asked to hear his story and I'm so thankful that he shared it with me. His determination, perseverance, and work ethic are traits to be admired and treasured.
This experience with Khao also reminds me of the video "Racing for 100 Dollar Bill" (included below). Everyone has a story to tell and everyone has different obstacles to face and overcome along the way.
I left the salon with a lot more than a haircut today.