Wen Bin, a veteran hairdresser in Wuhan, Hubei province, the centre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, has never had a young woman ask him to shave her head until a member of Hebei province’s medical team supporting Wuhan told him to do so.
Wen thought he had heard it wrong.
The moment he picked up the scissors and pulled back her long hair, he asked her, “Are you sure?”
The woman hesitated for a moment and sobbed, but then said “go ahead.”
“My eyes couldn’t help but water. I was so impressed by her,” said Wen, who comes from Gushi county in Henan province and has been working in Wuhan for 12 years.
The 30-year-old and his girlfriend, Li Ran, are both employees of a local hairdressing chain.
Over the past few days, including Valentines’ Day, the two have visited several local hotels and voluntarily offered free haircuts to the medical team members who live there.
They have helped over 150 medical team members cut their hair.
“The medical personnel who rushed to support Wuhan from all over the country need to put on thick protective suits when participating in epidemic prevention and control efforts on the front line, and their long hair could cause some inconvenience,” Wen said.
In order to make it easier to wear protective suits, hundreds of medical personnel from all over the country who are fighting the epidemic in Wuhan have chosen to cut their hair short.
Some have even shaved their heads.
Fifty medical members of Foshan Hospital of TCM cut their hair before setting off for Wuhan on Thursday.
All 130 members of the medical team from the First Bethune Hospital of Jilin University asked for either a crew cut or to have their heads shaved before heading to Wuhan on Feb 7.
And a medical team of 100 female staff from Xi’an International Medical Center Hospital decided to cut their long hair short or shave their heads after arriving in Wuhan on Feb 5.
Wen and Li had planned to work in their barbershop during the Spring Festival until the eighth of the first Chinese lunar month, then go home together until the Lantern Festival, the fifteenth of the first Chinese lunar month.
However, the lockdown of Wuhan on Jan 23 interrupted their plan.
A few days ago, Wen’s friends appealed for free haircuts for medical personnel on WeChat, and Wen and Li decided to volunteer.
They drove to hotels every day and worked from 6 pm until midnight, cutting hair for 20 to 30 people per night.
Li, from Enshi of Hubei province, has been working in the industry for about eight years.
She had never advised female customers to shave their heads because she knows how important hair is to a woman.
Li recalled her experience on Thursday.
While shaving the head of a female medical team member from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, her hands shook.
She first cut the girl’s hair to ear length, and when she prepared to shave the rest of her hair, the girl wept.
“I have never seen anything like that. I admire her courage,” Li said.
“At that moment, I felt that I had grown up and had a deeper understanding of life.”
The male medical team members usually asked for a shaved head or a short crew cut.
Many female team members cut their waist or chest-length hair to ear length or crew cut and some had their heads shaved, according to Li.
“We feel a sense of accomplishment when giving free haircuts to the medical staff who come all the way to help Wuhan,” Wen said.
“This is also our contribution to the fight against the epidemic.”
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