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City Reverses Decision To Kick Good Samaritan Barber Out Of Hartford Park

Anthony Cymerys Offers Free Haircuts For Hugs
FILE -- Barber scissors (credit: ClipArt)

FILE — Barber scissors (credit: ClipArt)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – An 82-year-old good Samaritan who has been giving free haircuts to the homeless for 25 years was kicked out of a Hartford park by city health officials on Wednesday.

But on Thursday evening, the city announced it was reserving its decision because of what it called the charitable work of Anthony Cymerys, known as “Joe the Barber.”

“This is wonderful news for me,” Cymerys told WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell.

He’s been a fixture every Wednesday for years at Bushnell Park, where his friends also hand out food to the needy. The only fee Cymerys charges is a hug.

“I’ll tell you, I’m probably the most hugged, kissed person in the whole city of Hartford,” Cymerys told Haskell. “You can’t buy what I get…money can’t buy this.”

But shortly after Cymerys set up shop for his Wednesday appearance this week, he said health officials and police told him and his friends to leave because they didn’t have permits. The city decided to waive the permitting process for Cymerys.

“It doesn’t bother me, I’ll cut hair any place,” Cymerys told 1010 WINS earlier Thursday. “I have a battery and I don’t care where you are, I’ll clip your hair.”

Cymerys said he had no plans to stop cutting hair, even if he had to find a new spot.

“I wouldn’t keep doing it for 25 years if it wasn’t satisfying,” Cymerys added.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)