Misty Wind Shingoose is on a mission to help people who are going through tough times.
The Calgary hair stylist knows adversity. She served time in prison five years ago and now provides free haircuts to those in need.
“I’ve been through quite a few hard times in life and I’ve lost everything a number of times over, through my own decisions,” Shingoose recalled.
“When I came out and started turning my life around I really wanted to give back to the community that I thought I had already taken too much from,” she said.
“That was really a big push for me to give back because I knew it was like to lose and be looked upon in a negative light in the community.”
Since 2015, Shingoose has been providing free haircuts through a charity she runs called Care Cuts.
She started with driving a van around to homeless shelters in Calgary.
To expand her mobile hair cutting service, Shingoose bought an old school bus and was in the process of replacing the engine and installing four styling stations in it.
She recently had to temporarily move the bus to the front of her Deer Ridge home because of renovations being done to the back exterior of the house.
But on November 13, and four days into a vacation earlier this month, she found out the bus had been towed to a Calgary Parking Authority impound lot. Shingoose was left with an approximately $900 bill.
“I pretty much cried my eyes out for the whole two hour layover,” Shingoose said.
So she put up a large banner on the front of her home.
It was a message to whomever may have complained about the bus being an abandoned vehicle.
“Next time please ring our door bell, we’re pretty nice people,” part of the message read.
Shingoose also took to social media to round up help from her friends.
By Saturday afternoon at around 3 p.m.,, the old school bus was towed back to her home, courtesy of the Calgary Parking Authority.
“We cannot speak about specific cases publicly as that is confidential information. However, the Calgary Parking Authority assessed this specific situation, and given the circumstances, we have waived all fees as a donation and returned the vehicle,” Jennifer Whitaker, Acting Manager of Communications and Customer Service with Calgary Parking Authority said in a statement
“I was extremely ecstatic. I was super grateful for them working with us on it,” Shingoose said.
LISTEN: Rob Breakenridge connects with the mind behind Care Cuts.
Shingoose now plans to get the bus ready to take to the Drop-In Centre in time for Christmas.
“I’ve had so many different clients that are like, ‘after I got that haircut from you last week I did 10 job interviews this week and got a job’ and that’s just the hugest blessing to me in the world is to help somebody make that next step in their life,” Shingoose said
Like the ups and downs in her life, the story has gone from misfortune to blessings, Shingoose said.
She’s grateful for the attention this has drawn to her small charity.
“I think a lot of times when we see people downtown on the streets, we tend to either avoid them or we tend to step out of their way and not want to interact with them, let alone actually personally touch them,” she said.
“So when I am washing someone’s hair and giving them a haircut and blowing, drying and styling it you are having that actual physical human interaction. Sometimes they haven’t had that in months, or even years. It’s very important for me to be able to feel that connection with my community especially with those who are forgotten in my community.”
Whitaker said the normal process for impounding a vehicle is that a complaint is received about an abandoned vehicle.
They first check to see if it is has been reported stolen. If not, an officer chalks the tire and places a 72 hour sticker on the vehicle to inform the driver that the vehicle will be towed.
The officer then returns after three days and if the chalk marks are still there, a ticket is issued and the vehicle is towed.
Shingoose said she had family members regularly checking on the bus while she was away and questions if her family did receive the 72-hour notice.