A comeback story sponsored by the goodwill of an East Bay community

For Naz Hazrati, the pandemic took away her livelihood as a hairstylist, but now her comeback story is unfolding. 

"I'm just so grateful I have all these people around me, supporting me through hard times. Now I am here," she said outside her new salon, Naz Hair Affair in Walnut Creek."

Getting to where she is now was difficult and took a lot of help.

"Last year I was sitting in my little place crying my eyes out because I had no job," Hazrati recalled. 

Just before the pandemic, she found herself divorced and living in an RV parked in the back of her brother's home in Martinez with her three dogs. Then came COVID.

"March 16, 2020, we all had to not go to work. That was my income. The hairstylists, we are the ones who got hit a lot," she said.

But help and compassion started coming her way. Former clients sent her money out of the blue to keep her going.

"My clients started reaching out to me. They were offering what I needed. For me, it was like falling from grace," Hazrati said.

Recently, Hazrati heard about a former salon in Walnut Creek that had become vacant. She wasn't able to afford the lease, but she said the building owner decided to take a chance on her and offered several months of free rent until she can get Naz Hair Affair running.

Hazrati started back this week with a few clients. But on Sunday she is planning a celebration to thank all the people who lifted her up and helped get her back in business. 

"I don't know how to say thanks to the people who supported me or are out there helping other people. I know for sure without them I wouldn't be here right now sitting in my own salon," Hazrati said.