In this compelling story about the influence of social media, Mark Cropp, a young man from New Zealand, was serving a two-year, three-month term for an unsuccessful drug trade when he found himself at a crossroads.

Desperate for a new beginning after serving his sentence, Mark made a decision that would have a significant impact on his life while he was inside.

Mark and his brother made a decision that changed their lives one night while they were in their jail cell, highly intoxicated from homemade booze made from fermented apples, bread, and sugar.

The face tattoo

In a daze, they decided to use melted plastic knives and forks and toothpaste as improvised ink to tattoo Mark’s moniker on his face.

The resultant massive black tattoo, which gradually came to represent sorrow, boldly spelled “Devast8” across his lower face and jaw.

After serving his time in jail, Mark had to confront the hard reality of unemployment.

Despite his desire to support his girlfriend and small daughter and reintegrate into society, he soon realized that his enormous face tattoo was making this very impossible.

Mark had previously worked, but the obvious ink turned off potential employers right away, thus he was unable to get employment.

“You know there was a long time there where I would devastate everything I touched. I would end up devastating everyone I met or got close to,” Mark explained to the Daily Mail Australia about the purpose behind the tattoo.

He continued: “They would be disappointed with something I had done or said – I was always hearing ‘that’s devastating.’ Once it was started, I thought, I can’t go back on it now. I wish I had stopped while the outline was there to be quite honest,’ he said.

“Before I knew it I had this on my face… It was swollen like a bloody pumpkin,” he said.

Mark was desperate to find a way out and looked for ways to get rid of the tattoo, but he couldn’t find any willing professionals or the money to do it.

The most practical solution, laser removal, needed multiple sessions and was quite expensive. Mark then looked to social media for support.

Mark posted a selfie of himself on Facebook, showcasing his unique tattoo and pleading for work and a fresh start.

His sincere request soon gained popularity on the network and caught the attention of the workers at the tattoo parlor in Auckland called Sacred Tattoo.

New beginnings

Sacred Tattoo made the decision to carry out a remarkable act of generosity because Mark’s story had inspired them and they felt they had a chance to contribute.

Recognized for its dedication to the neighborhood, the tattoo shop gave Mark complimentary laser removal sessions as a way to get rid of the “Devast8” tattoo on his face.

This kind act from Sacred Tattoo illustrated the influence of compassion in addition to showcasing the transformational potential of social media.

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