When you think of a tattoo artist, you might picture a tough-as-nails guy with a whole lot of attitude and very little time for helping strangers.
But Jason Ward, a tattooist at Muscle And Ink Tattoo in Hamilton, New Zealand, challenges that stereotype.
Because every Friday, a woman with down syndrome called Suzie Barry comes into his parlour clutching a sheet of stick-on tattoos — and Jason drops what he’s doing to tenderly apply one for her.
He treats Suzie like his paying client — sitting her down at the tattooist’s table, donning gloves, and stencilling in her skin — but he never charges her for his time, the Daily Mail reports.
Suzie then heads back to her vocational day facility and shows off her temporary tattoo to her friends, according to the Daily Mail.
The story of Suzie’s Friday tattoo sessions is now going viral, after this beautiful image was posted to Facebook page Confessions of a Tattoo Artist. That post has attracted more than 177,900 Facebook “likes” and almost 18,000 shares.
“Every Friday this lady comes in with stick on tattoos to see her tattooist. She says he makes her feel ‘equal’, when he puts them on – gloves, spray and all,” the original post’s caption reads.
Jason himself wrote in a Facebook comment that the first time he met Suzie, she simply “walked in to our studio and asked me to apply some stick on tattoos for her, and I obliged”.
“Since that day, she has come in at the same time every friday,” he added. “I have had clients I have been tattooing when she comes in, and asked them if they are happy to break while I take five minutes out of my day to keep her smiling.”
“My everyday goal is to make someone smile and have a great day, as I am just an average guy doing average things that make me and my family happy,” he said.
“Thank you to those who have kind words to say about this, that makes me happy.”
Way to go, Jason and Suzie.