A snowstorm hit western New York over the holiday weekend, and while the blizzard left more than two dozen people dead, one man was doing his part in saving lives.
Craig Elston, the owner of C&C Cutz barbershop located at 707 Fillmore Ave. in Buffalo, New York, turned his place of business into a shelter for those who were stuck outside in the arctic weather conditions.
“It was crazy, man,” Elston told The Buffalo News. Elston, 44, became stranded in his own shop because he wanted to “knock out a few haircuts” early. Later, when he wanted to leave, he realized the weather conditions were too hazardous to go home, so he stayed there.
The shop had heat and wifi, and as the weather worsened, people began knocking on his door in hopes of escaping the blizzard. By the end of the night, C&C Cutz housed over 50 people. Some slept in the two large rooms, some slept in the reclined barber chairs, and some even slept on the shop floor.
“People told me I saved their life, that in another three minutes they felt like they were going to die from the freezing cold. Some peoples’ fingers were purple,” he said.
According to The Buffalo News, Elston invited people to shelter at the barbershop via social media. He posted a video on TikTok and more than 800,000 people saw it. He said after watching a video on Facebook showing a person on the East Side dead in the freezing cold, he had to open his shop. He even paid for the visitors’ meals and water. “Whatever resources I had, I did what I could,” Elston said.
Some good news 🙏 I met Craig Elston today – owner of C&C Cuts on Fillmore Ave. He used his shop as a shelter. Almost 30 people came in over the weekend. They celebrated the holiday & watched the Bills win together. Total strangers, became family during this intense storm. @WKBW pic.twitter.com/Gy0AEwTb9W
— Kristen Mirand (@kristen_mirand) December 27, 2022
The new outlet also said as the weather got better by Monday (Dec. 26), people tried to repay him for his efforts, but he declined offers.
“One guy, who didn’t speak English, pulled out $1,000 to give me,” he said. “He counted it out and tried to hand it to me. I told him no, I did it to help people and not for a payout.”
As much of a humanitarian Elston served during the snowstorm, he did have some regrets about going to work. He wanted to spend Christmas opening gifts with his two daughters, Leah, 9, and Madison, 3.
“That was heartbreaking, but I was able to bless other people by giving them shelter,” he said.