BUFFALO, N.Y. - When Thomas Nichols stepped into his classroom this week to teach future barbers, little did he know, he was about to be surprised for being an inspirational teacher, mentor and father figure.

Nichols, 56, is a lead instructor at The Buffalo School of Barbering in Buffalo.

Former student Junior Vidal presented Nichols with a plaque and told him before the crowd, "You have made an amazing change in our lives, you have been a great support for our careers."

Nichols was brought to tears as 24 Buffalo Public Schools Adult Education students and former students watched him get an honor.

"His ways of teaching is impeccable," said Vidal.

Nichols was humbled by the recognition.

"It's no gratification more than seeing these former students become successful themselves. It's a changing world now, it's a hard world, we as men and professionals, we have to teach our youth and our younger people how to be successful and how to make a happy life. Money means a lot in this world, but money can't buy you happiness."

Click here to learn more about the School of Barbering in Buffalo.

Thomas Nichols hopes to start a Master Barber Association. He believes the profession is underrated and he wants to raise the bar.