Willy Jones, or Will Jones on the job, is a man of many talents. From traveling around the country playing blues, rock and R&B with numerous bands to styling the hair of big-shot celebrities such as Ice-T and other rappers for 25 years, Jones is as charismatic as he is well-humored and nonchalant.
After touring the country, Jones returned home to the West Side of Chicago, working as a studio musician playing bass guitar before eventually becoming a doorperson. One can catch Jones in the lobby at 155 N. Harbor Drive, most likely lending a hand or two or complimenting a resident on their fresh haircut.
Jones joined the Harbor Point staff five years ago and says he found a new happiness and security upon entering the doorperson field. Similarly to his past two careers, his work involves mastering the art of “knowing his audience” and living day-to-day by his own mantra, “treat everyone evenly, regardless of what they do in life.”
Jones has his many years working as both a touring and studio musician to thank for his uncanny ability to work with all types of people — “even the complicated ones,” he admits with a grin.
“Something I’ve learned over the years … don’t take anything personally,” he said. “It’s better to understand than it is to be understood; never argue your point with somebody. It doesn’t come easy, choose your battles wisely.”
Hospitality and charming others comes naturally to Jones. Straight out of high school, he joined his mother and sister in the hair industry, where he dedicated 25 years to working as a hairstylist and barber, pleasing customers with new ‘dos and meeting individuals from all walks of life.
“From celebrities to the common work person, I tried to make sure everyone felt comfortable there,” Jones said, recounting his years at his salon, LA Salon, where he accumulated the people skills that have carried him well into his career.
“As I approach things, I approach it with patience,” he added. “I don’t look for anything. You know, instant gratification, unrealistic expectations, because I know nobody owes me nothing in life. I don’t live like that; you have to work for it.”
When he’s not assisting residents at Harbor Point, Jones enjoys jazz, mastering the perfect coffee drink on his new espresso machine and kicking it with his daughter and granddaughter at home.
Jones has built quite the respectful reputation at Harbor Point, as some of his younger residents refer to him as “Grandpa Will,” while others look forward to discussing music and the importance of a fresh haircut with him.
“I’ve learned to treat everyone evenly, regardless of what they do in life,” he said. “We only get to see people from the entrance door to the elevator doors. We don’t know what they left, and we don’t know what they’re headed to, so don’t take anything personal and try to stay positive.”