Barber Goes Viral For Friendship With Boy With Special Needs

February 11, 2023

A barber in Cincinnati gives free haircuts to children with special needs.

As a result, he's made a new friend.

jackson and ellison
Vernon and Ellison / Credit: Julie Eubanks

Two years ago, Vernon Jackson had an idea to raise money to give free haircuts to children with disabilities. He called the program GIFTED.

That's how he met 7-year-old Ellison.

Ellison has Down syndrome and has already been through three open heart surgeries. And like most children with special needs, he faces challenges daily.

One of those being a haircut.

"I said, 'Ellison, if at any moment in this haircut you need some time to yourself or you want me to stop, just say stop, and give me a go when you're ready'," Jackson recalled. "And so we get to going, and the next thing you know, immediately, he says 'stop.' And then he says 'go.' And by the second time, it turned into a game. And we were just cracking up."

The video (below) of Ellison and Jackson went viral on TikTok.


Everyone here’s the video without the music! Idk what tik tok did🤦🏾‍♂️ but please consider donating! All of my cuts for my gifted clients are paid for by donations 🙏🏽

♬ original sound - Author • Barber • Speaker

Ellison's mother, Julie Eubanks, said that navigating a haircut for a child with Down syndrome has been stressful, but that was before finding Jackson's GIFTED program. She now says having a barber who takes his time and gives her son a special experience is something every parent should be able to have.

She told her son he went viral on TikTok and said every night, Ellison asks to watch the video and just laughs and laughs. It's a memory she will have forever.

As for Jackson and Ellison's new TikTok fans, Eubanks had a simple message.

"I hope people can see just that everybody is unique in their own way and everyone wants to be included," she said.

You can donate toward Jackson's GIFTED program on GoFundMe.

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