Francis “Franz” Jacob is the international barber from Rouyn-Noranda everyone’s praising.
A photo posted online last week shows Jacob lying on the floor of his shop as he gives a young boy with autism named Wyatt a haircut.
Jacob, 45 years old, is originally from Sullivan and moved to Rouyn-Noranda 3 years ago.
Rouyn-Noranda is about 600 kilometres northwest of Montreal.
Since the photo went viral he’s been getting messages from people all over the world thanking him for going the extra mile with Wyatt.
Of course, it’s not everyday we see a barber or hairdresser cut hair while lying on the floor.
When I met up with Jacob and asked him to explain the picture he shrugged and said, “I was really surprised I mean… I was just doing my job. I don’t know about other barbers, but for me this is normal.”
This wasn’t the first time Jacob trimmed the little boy’s hair.
According to the bearded and tattooed barber, whenever Wyatt comes for a haircut Jacob gets him comfortable by playing loud music, giving him candy, spinning him around in the chair “stuff like that.”
Wyatt was Jacob’s first autistic client.
Since Wyatt, more and more autistic children or those with special needs come to see him.
The truth is people living in Rouyn-Noranda aren’t surprised that Jacob lied on the floor with his client.
Jacob is known for always giving and sharing in the community.
But who is this barber, this everyday hero?
When he moved to Rouyn-Noranda Franz Jacob knew something was missing.
Rouyn-Noranda is a mining city with a lot of men who go fishing and hunting.
It was clear to him that these men needed a place for themselves.
And when you walk into Authentischen Barbier the walls are covered with photos, vinyls, and posters of local events.
Gels, creams, beard products galore—seriously all over the place.
It really has a 70’s punk-rock vibe to it.
Did I mention it’s no girls allowed?
That’s right! Only men get cut here.
Jacob isn’t sexist. He explains that men need their space and they need their male time without mirrors or women.
“It’s a hangout place where we all talk, it’s fun!”
He also only does certain haircuts and if you don’t like it he’ll tell you to get out without hesitation.
“I’m confident and comfortable in my skin and I know what I’m doing, take it or leave it.”
As we spoke he mentioned getting some bad press the last couple of years and is happy to see that the good he’s done in the world is coming back to him, and that’s karma baby!
“It’s been an emotional week. Sunday night I closed my phone and Monday morning all I kept hearing was my ringer-ringing non-stop.”
Life never came easy for Jacob. He remembers only having 15$ to eat a week.
Amongst his many jobs, he will never forget moving to Japan and working at a restaurant serving French cuisine dishes.
Although he learned discipline and structure he’s grateful for it all.
“I’ve had a hard life but moments like these make it all worth it,” he said teary eyed.
With all that has happened in the world these past few weeks Jacob hopes this story will bring hope.
“I’m not here to teach anything, but if this can be an inspiration in this weird time right now, if this can be a ray of light right now even if it’s just for a short moment then it’s fine for me. I’m always helping here in my community. If I can do that then …its all good.”