(GREAT FALLS) “Any time wasted is time that you can never get back,” Victor Padilla said.
We first introduced you to Victor last summer. He was in the Parkdale community giving free haircuts to children. Victor can no longer give free cuts, that’s because he’s enrolled in the Montana Academy of Salons.
“I got asked, ‘Do you think hair cutting is considered a job?’ I said no, not when you love what you do,” Padilla said.
But before pursuing a career in hair, Victor found himself in some uneasy situations that landed him in jail for four years.
“Having so many people look up to me, I need someone to look up to. The recidivism rate of people going back to prison is over 90 percent because they don’t have no body to look up to,” Padilla said.
He decided he was not going to let that prison sentence define the rest of his life.
“A lot of it has to do with the mindset that the worse has already happened to me. I’ve already been to prison, I’ve already lost my child. Anything else is better than what it used to be. I’m free, I get to drink coffee, get to do something I love, get to meet new people,” Padilla said.
He’s currently a level three barber. He’ll graduate on February 16th, one year to the day after being released from prison.
“I wake up with the mindset that as long as I’m better than I was yesterday, as long as I’m better as the day before, I’ll eventually be great,” Padilla said.
Victor dreams of opening his own barber shop someday.
“I’m sorry to the people that I hurt along the way but the best apology ever is coming back the way that I did,” Padilla said.
Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News