“We was in our house. The water went up so fast ’cause they release the Addict Reservoir Dam in the city at Fort Bend County. None of us know how to swim, but thank god my wife bought the swim float for my daughter to swim and we used that float and evacuated out our house,” says Danny Truong of 3.99 Star Salon, who decided to stay with his family in their Twin Oaks area home until being forced to later escape to drier ground. “When we head out of our house, the water was to my chest and looking back to my house knowing it was going be a total lost and thats when my tears start to drop. I never in my wildest dream ever thought it could happen to my family. But thanks god we all safe. Just like in the movie. I did not take any pictures because too sad to look at.”

So many people have lost so much in the last several days that it is hard to see the forest from the trees. News reports of so many stranded and homeless families can become overwhelming, so telling people’s personal stories is going to be important in the coming days and weeks in order for us to truly grasp what is happening to people and their families here in Houston. Danny Truong is kind of a local celebrity. He is widely regarded as the best bald fade barber in the city — and for good reason. He is an artist. Working out of the Hillcroft location of 3.99 Star Salon, Danny is the guy that always has a smile on his face and remembers everyone by name. The staff at 3.99’s two locations are comprised mostly of Vietnamese immigrants, many of them refugees.

Danny with daughter Elaine, 9

My family came to Houston to escape the Lebanese Civil War, so I have always had a kinship with many of these folks. I started getting my head shaved there at their Hillcroft location in the ’90s because I thought I was a thug and it was located right next door to my high school, Robert E. Lee, now known as the “Margaret Long Wisdom High School.” Danny has been cutting me and my brothers hair now for damn near 20 years, and I now count him among my personal friends. He’s been a stalwart supporter of FPSF and Day for Night and has always prominently featured all of our posters and promotional assets within his barbershop. Every weekend there is a line of 20 plus people waiting specifically for Danny. He even offers folks a chance to jump in front of others for a “911 Haircut” for $20 dollars. Danny is among the countless Houstonian’s who stayed in their homes before having to escape after the flood waters moved in.

“Two weeks ago my wife brought home a kiddie pool and I told her I didn’t want that ugly thing here at my house,” Danny says as he describes how his family made their escape. “That kiddie pool saved our lives. Once the water got up to our chests, my family and I got in it and floated to safety. I swear it was something out of a movie.”

Everything in Danny’s house is underwater, including the family’s two cars.

“We got out of there with maybe two or three shirts and shorts each,” he says. Luckily, his brother lives close to him near Grand Parkway and they were able to stay with him, yet there is concern they may need to move to his sister’s home if flooding progresses. The problem is, his sister lives in The Braeswood area. And unfortunately, this is the state of affairs for many families throughout our city and surrounding areas. Danny knows he’s going to bounce back, but it is hard for him to watch everything he built from the time he came here as an immigrant up until now wash away.

“It’s like I’m fresh off the boat all over again, I got nothing left,” he says.