Hairstylists at Columbia Center mall in Kennewick help longtime customers

By Loretto J. Hulse, Tri-City HeraldDecember 5, 2012 

For more than a decade, Dee Reece and her son made the trip every Thursday from Richland to the JCP Salon at Columbia Center mall.

"She had a standing appointment for a wash and blow dry," said receptionist Tina Alaniz-Zavaleta. "She's been coming in for years, at least 12 -- maybe more -- but that's as far back as the computer records go."

Her son, Dennis Moore, also has been having his hair cut at J.C. Penney's salon in Kennewick for more than a decade.

But a few weeks ago, they called to cancel their appointments. Reece was ill and too frail to leave home.

Last week, Reece called Alaniz-Zavaleta and canceled again. This time, for a different reason.

"When Dennis got on the phone, I could tell he was really upset," Alaniz-Zavaleta said.

Moore said, "I had to tell them we simply did not have the money for gas or to pay to have our hair done. It's just the situation -- between medical bills and the price of gas -- we didn't have the money for food or the gas to go to the food bank."

As soon as stylists Pat Harries and Bay Bagley heard that, they told Alaniz-Zavaleta they'd be back in a few minutes.

They drove straight to Costco and bought a case of soups, a case of Ensure, some boxes of oatmeal and crackers.

"We looked for nutritious foods that are easy to eat," Harries said.

Bagley added, "We've known Dee and Dennis for so long, we thought, 'If we can help, why not?' "

The generosity didn't end there. They took up a collection and everyone at the salon contributed either food or money.

Then, Alaniz-Zavaleta told some friends at South Hills Church in Kennewick.

"They gave me money to pass on to them for gas," she said.

Later that week, Alaniz-Zavaleta called Moore to tell him of the Good Samaritans, the gas money and the groceries.

"He was so happy and grateful when he picked them up. It really made us all feel good," Alaniz-Zavaleta said.

She then made an appointment for Reece and Moore to have their hair done.

Moore, his mother's full-time caregiver, said, "I can do a lot of things for her but I'm no good at hair. And since mom had some surgery done on her right shoulder -- she has a titanium implant which did not go well -- she can't raise her arm high enough to comb it herself."

Once stylist Chris Lonzano finished, Reece looked in the mirror, smiled and thanked Lonzano.

"I like coming here. The girls do a good job," she said.

As Moore slipped a jacket over his mother and settled her into her wheelchair, Reece chided him, "Quit messing up my hair."

The stylists snapped a quick photo of mother and son as they left the salon and handed Moore several gift bags. Inside were faux pearls and Santa figurines for her, a dress shirt and tie for him.

Alaniz-Zavaleta also handed him an envelope with cash and a $100 JCP gift card for more salon visits.

"I don't know what to say but thank you," Moore told them. "I can't believe it all. It's like a dream."

And Reece said there's no need for Santa to bring her anything for Christmas.

"I've already got it," she said. "This is a nice place. They're really good people."

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service