Auckland barber's heartwarming act of kindness to homeless man goes viral

Screengrabs from the video of Rob and Kirkwoods Barbers founder Whenua hugging
The heartwarming interaction has amassed thousands of views. Photo credit: @kirkwoodsbarbers / TikTok

An Auckland barber who offered a free haircut to a homeless man in the city's south is being hailed on social media for his act of kindness, with the heartwarming interaction amassing thousands of views. 

In footage of the exchange shared to TikTok over the weekend, Whenua Kirkwood - the founder of Kirkwoods Barbers on Lunn Ave, Mt Wellington - approached a homeless man named Rob and offered him a free haircut, which he gratefully accepted.

As Kirkwood trimmed Rob's hair, he gently questioned the 65-year-old about his life - allowing him to share some insight into the circumstances that led to him becoming homeless. 

"One of [my children] departed from us. I won't go too much into that... it's just from those sorts of tragedies and what not - well, I moved out the back door basically. I didn't want to confront my problems, and I ended up on the streets," he told Kirkwood, adding that he's currently hoping for accommodation to become available - "anywhere with four walls and a roof".

When asked about the struggles he faces living on the streets of Auckland, Rob admitted that all he hopes for is acknowledgement from others.

"I find you meet a lot of good people out there, but you meet a lot of nasty people also," he said.

As Kirkwood tidied up his facial hair - and was given permission to shave off his moustache - Rob added that he finds those who have experienced tough situations themselves are "the ones willing to help more", noting the generosity of the South Auckland community. 

With the haircut finished and moustache removed, Kirkwood took a photo of Rob for him to see his new look - to which he gave a crow of approval - before giving him a blanket and lunch to take with him.

Clearly overwhelmed with gratitude, Rob and Kirkwood shared a hug and several handshakes before the two parted.

Hundreds of people have since taken to the comments to praise Kirkwood, while it quickly became clear that Rob himself is a popular character in the community, with many attesting to his kindness. 

"My wife and I gave him some money and a kai and he was the nicest man. Hopefully he gets to where he wants to be," one said, with a second adding: "I'd love to start a GoFundMe for him, gave him money last time, such a genuine bloke."

"I always give him money. He's super nice," a third agreed, with a fourth commenting: "Thanks for sharing his story bro. I'll keep an eye out and get him warm clothes and stuff."

"I LOVE ROB! Whenever my partner and I see him we give him whatever coins or money we have in the car," said another, while one weighed in: "Ah! This is beautiful! I literally just drove past him this weekend and had a quick chat with him. Such an awesome soul."

At the time of writing, the footage of Rob's haircut has been viewed more than 117,000 times and liked by over 7700 people.