First of all, I am NOT RICH. Nope. Not even CLOSE. I make about $30 Aussie dollars an hour and EVERYTHING I EARN, I SPEND.
I’m a monetary retard, honestly. Anything shiny. Anything lovely and sweet – oh my God, anything in a market stall that’s pink and God forbid it smells good too – Oh yes, that’s going in my bag and I’m handing over my bank card in an instant.
So I don’t have the finances to TIP $100 to ANYONE. My Lord no.
But I did it.
Here’s what lead to it:
I found an add on Facebook for a girl who did permanent hair straightening for a fraction of the cost of a Salon in the city. I have honestly paid $800.00 to have it done professionally before. It was amazing. I had straight hair, I was on cloud 9 for months. LOVED IT. So worth it.
This girl was only charging $200.00.
A little voice in my heart gently warned “JD…if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably because it is…“
But I am pretty stupid. SO I IGNORED THAT WARNING and booked in an appointment to get my hair “re-bonded” to straight locks.
Fast forward to me getting out of the Uber in what can only be described as Perth’s version of the Bronx. There were hundreds of tiny little dark brown flats stacked together with abandon on a dry, horrible peice of land. The lights were low and hardly any streetlights were even on.
I think this is where drugs get dealt and prostitutes pay most of their ‘wage’ to their pimp.
I wonder if I can call the Uber back?
But before I could do anything, a young Indian girl arrived. “Sharnia” was in her late 20’s, about my height and of course, about 35 kilos lighter. She had thick, long hair in a low ponytail and big brown eyes. She was so pretty. Sharnia was wearing patterned loose pants and a pretty floral shirt. She lead me up to her apartment and I was honestly expecting some sort of “home salon”, guys.
It was literally a tiny 1-bedroom apartment with the barest of furniture. One table. Two chairs. One sofa. One rug. A clean kitchen with nothing out on the benches. A fridge shuddering against the wall. One living room and one bedroom. The flat was so bare, but it was clean. Whoever lived here took great pride in their home.
Sharnia led me to her BEDROOM and had me sit at her dressing table. Literally a dressing table where you would sit and do your makeup. No salon chair or fancy sink to wash hair in (I ended up having to wash my hair – myself with Sharnia giggling at my mumbling in their kitchen sink, on my tip-toes). Nothing. Just a dressing table with a matching wooden chair that complained beneath my weight when I sat on it and threatened to collapse completely whenever I shifted position on it – which I did a lot over the FIVE HOURS it took to re-bond my afro curls into poker-straight strands.
This is probably where I die I thought to myself. This is my own damn fault for being such a cheap-ass.
Well done, JD. You idiot.
But Sharnia worked hard, she tested a strand of hair before putting product in it and kept a careful eye on the time. She took time to explain what she was doing as she was doing it, and asked “is this ok?” throughout my time there. Sharnia was also having to try to entertain her little girl – literally a mini version of her with the same big, brown eyes and tiny chin. So cute.
After a few hours of applying the treatment, leaving it on and letting it ‘set’ for about 20 minutes, combing my hair straight while the product had ‘set’, washing it, drying it, straightening it and repeating the entire process 4 times…I was starting to lose the will to live.
Sharnia’s husband arrived home (“he drives Uber for work”), and she apologetically left me in the bedroom for the product to set (again) in my hair, while she prepared dinner for her family. Even though their flat had hardly anything in it and I could tell they could probably barely afford the rent and bills, they were a close family. Sharnia and her husband clearly ADORED their daughter and as they sat around a simple dinner of chicken, vegetables and rice, the little girl chatted happily (non-stop) and her parents praised her and cherished her. It really touched my heart.
Before Sharnia served dinner, though – she asked me if I wanted to share dinner with them all. I was so touched! They had hardly anything but wanted to share with me, bless them!
“Oh I ate already” I smiled and patted my protrouding stomach.
Lord help me. I am so fat. I could definitely do with eating LESS.
Another 2 hours and Sharnia worked non-stop. The final rinse, the final dry, the final straighten with her hair straighteners…and I was ready to go home. Sharnia had taken a ‘before’ picture of my curls and proudly showed me her ‘after’ photo of my smooth, sleek, shiny (it was glorious), STRAIGHT hair. I was so happy with it! YASS!!!
“Thank you so much!” I squealed in delight.
“I’m so sorry to ask at the last minute” I bit my lip, unsure “But are you okay to trim the dry ends for me please?”
Sharnia nodded, smiled and sat me down on her creaky wooden chair again. Poor chair. She trimmed my ends neatly and did this thing at the end where she knelt in front of me so we were eye-to-eye. Sharnia gently pulled hair from both sides of my face to measure they were even. It was really nice being so close to someone. I liked it a lot. I guess Sharnia did too, because she impulsively reach out and gently pinched both of my cheeks as if I was a little kid. I loved it. We both laughed.
“Ok?” She asked, and did that thing where hairdressers show you the back of your hair with a mirror.
It was amazing.
“I love it! Thank you!” I squealed again. I bloody love having straight hair.
“So now” I stood and picked up my handbag, getting my purse out as I turned to face Sharnia “How much do I pay you?”
At this, Sharnia looked the floor, embarrassed and openly uncomfortable talking about payment. I really felt for her.
“Oh…Umm…Is…is $200 ok?” Sharnia asked, looking solemly at the floor.
I usually pay $800 so $200 was absolutely FINE with me!
“Of course, do you have an EFTPOS machine?” I asked and waved my card at Sharnia. Market stall owners have them now, little white boxes that are blue-toothed and can take payment. I guess I expected everyone running a business to have one. Sharnia looked terrified. “No…my customers usually pay in cash”. Oh dear. That probably helps with taxes (or lack of them, lol) and stuff. Now I’d somehow fumbled it. I felt awful. “I can do a bank transfer by OSKO and you’ll get it immediately – ok?” I offered. I saw obvious relief in Sharnia’s face. “Yes, yes – that will be fine” she nodded and we stood together, comparing details and making sure they were right on both our smart phone screens.
“You cut my hair too – so it can’t just be $200” I reminded Sharnia.
“Oh yes” she was uncomfortable again “Would…$250 be ok?”
It would be fine.
“Sure” I smiled and as I typed the amount into my transfer feilds on my phone, I suddenly and instinctively added an extra $100!!! I just felt like Sharnia was 1) worth it – she’d worked tirelessly for FIVE HOURS for goodness sakes and 2) I definitely think her family could use the extra income.
I showed Sharnia the transfer with the $100 Tip (OMG JD. YOU AREN’T KANYE WEST. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?) and she burst into tears “Oh no – that’s too much! Too much!” she said, shaking her head and waving her hands.
“It is my pleasure” I assured her “and it is done! Just accept it. I am so blessed with my hair”
Sharnia called out to tell her husband and he flashed a happy grin.
“Okay then” I smiled again, feeling really, really good about that extravagent tip knowing this cute little family was going to benefit from it “I’ll be off home”
“Did you drive here?” Sharnia was tidying around me and sweeping hair from the floor.
“No, I’ll catch the train home” I sighed. I don’t really like travelling at night but with a HUGE ASS TIP there was no way I could afford an Uber home now.
That’s where Sharnia’s husband stepped in.
“I will take you home in my car” he winked across at his wife “You should not be walking alone at night”
Sharnia beamed at him.
They are too cute.
So Sharnia’s husband drove me home – free UBER home for me!!!
And I slept SO GOOD that night, knowing I’d tipped someone $100.00.
Never again though. OMG.