How One Tattoo Artist’s Kind Act Is Leaving a Permanent Mark

A New Zealand man has been applying temporary tattoos on the arm of a customer with Down syndrome every Friday.
(Photo: Confessions of a Tattoo Artist/Facebook)
Dec 5, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

He doesn’t have celebrity clients or his own reality show, but a tattoo artist in Hamilton, New Zealand, caught the Internet’s attention this week.

Suzie Barry, a woman with Down syndrome, first walked into Jason Ward’s shop four months ago carrying packets of temporary tattoos. She asked him to apply them on her arms, and he was happy to do so. Since then, Barry has been coming back every Friday.

“It started out as something quite funny though, I mean, who does that? Who walks into a tattoo shop to get stick-on tattoos?” Ward told The New Zealand Herald. “But if she was a member of my family and she had walked into another tattoo shop and they told her to bugger off, I’d be angry. Why would you say no?”

Ward treats Barry’s weekly visits like any other—gloves and all—except he doesn’t charge her anything. Barry said the sessions made her feel “equal,” according to a Facebook post by one of Ward’s friends.

Barry shows off her tattoos at the vocational learning facility (run by the Intellectual Disability Empowerment in Action) she attends.

While Ward’s kind act has received plenty of praise after a friend posted a photo of him and Barry online, it’s the Internet, so there have been naysayers as well.

“It’s crazy. Some people think it's a publicity stunt, but it's not,” he told the Herald. “Through the Facebook post we have had so many people message our studio wanting to send us some stick-on tattoos.”

His advice for people who want to help out? Look closer to home.

“If you just do one thing for one person every day that makes them smile, then that’s your day,” he said.