After posting on social media about how his face tattoo impacted his job search, 19-year old father-of-one Mark Cropp’s post has gone viral, and the teen dad has been inundated with job offers and offers for free tattoo removal. He has accepted a scaffolding position, and is due to start July 24.
Earlier this month, Cropp was released from prison in Christchurch, New Zealand, after serving a two-year-and-three-month sentence for aggravated robbery, after attacking with a knife a tourist that sold him fake cannabis. However, the teen dad said he struggled to find someone willing to hire him due to his face tattoo.
Several months ago, while drunk on home-brewed alcohol with his brother in prison, the pair decided to tattoo the lower half of Cropp’s face with the word “DEVAST8.” Inmates helped create a makeshift tattoo gun out of a cassette player and a pen spring. The ink was created using melted cutlery, toothpaste, and water.
Cropp said the tattoo was originally meant to be a small jaw line tattoo before his brother got “carried away.” Cropp said he fell asleep while the tattoo was applied, and woke up eight hours later with ink covering the length of his entire jaw.
“Before I knew it I had this on my face… It was swollen like a bloody pumpkin,” he said, according to Yahoo7 News.
After his social media posts complaining about his difficult job hunt went viral, Cropp was inundated with supportive messages and job offers. In addition to offers for employment, Cropp also received offers to remove his face tattoo for free. He is currently undergoing a 12-session removal process, valued at $2,200 (or $3,000 NZD), with tattoo shop Sacred Laser in order to get the ink out of his skin.
Shop owner and tattoo artist Briar Neville said Cropp’s tattoo will be exceptionally difficult to remove.
“The main concern is that the ink he’s used is not your regular ink. It’s something they’ve made in prison by melting down plastic utensils,” Neville said, adding that Cropp’s tattoo is the largest face tattoo she’s ever come across.
Mark Cropp got the tattoo when he was drunk on contraband homebrew in prison but admits he now regrets the decisionhttps://t.co/EncBdiIviB
— talk to the hand (@pamcmtem) July 14, 2017
Neville said she offered Cropp the free removal session because she wanted to prove that her service was better than the “barbaric” prison laser therapy.
“What we do is give people a clean slate. When I read Mark’s story and the discrimination he had faced it really spoke to me. Mark and his partner Taneia are good people,” Neville said, according to the New York Post. “I know he has done a crime but he has done his time for it and I can feel they have goodness in their hearts.”
Despite the struggle the tattoo brought him, Cropp said he had to deliberate on the decision to remove it.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) July 18, 2017
“A week before I got out I taped a picture of my face to the inside of an envelope so my partner could see it – she was devastated – but now she likes it and can’t see me without it,” he said according to Yahoo7 News. “This tattoo means something to me and my brother did it for me, so it is hard,” he added.
“I liked it at the time but now it is just not my sort of thing. I don’t regret having it, but this is my changing point,” he said, according to the New York Post.
However, Cropp added that he knew that removing the tattoo would be best for his future and for his family’s financial prospects. Cropp said he was “quite excited” by all the support and outreach he has received since posting about his futile job search on Facebook.
[Featured Image by David Crowther/AP Images]