How this man turned his one regrettable tattoo that affected his future around

A New Zealand man who found his life turned upside down after getting a large tattoo on his face while in prison has finally managed to earn some respite for himself and get a job.

In 2015, Mark Cropp pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery after pulling a knife on a tourist, and was subsequently sentenced to two years of imprisonment.

While in prison, Cropp got drunk one night with his brother (who conveniently happened to be his cell mate) on an alcoholic homebrew made of fermented apples, sugar and bread, before his brother tattooed his face (we'll leave the question of alcohol brewed in prison to another day). 

Ever resourceful, Cropp's brother made use of a makeshift needle for the tattoo that was created from a straightened spring, a cassette player gun, ink made from burnt plastic cutlery, toothpaste, and water.

Mark said in an interview that the original idea was just to get a small tattoo along his jawline but that obviously did not happen.

A photo of Cropper with the words "DEVAST8" tattooed across half his facePhoto: Youtube Screenshot

Cropp immediately regretted his decision when he woke up the next morning.

"I fell asleep and eight and a half hours later I woke up with this. I completely forgot about it and then when I looked in the mirror I was like 'holy s**t', so I have had to live with it from then," he said.

After leaving prison, Cropp struggled to find a job when he tried applying via various job agencies on account of his tattoo. In an interview with the New Zealand Herald, he recounted how he faced rejection numerous times.

"One employment place said to me 'I wouldn't employ you with that on your face, I wouldn't even take a second look at you'. I've had other people that just shrugged and laughed at me."

Desperate, he took to Facebook where he found a page where people could look for and put out offers for job opportunities.

On his post, he uploaded a full selfie of his face with the caption "I'm keen as to work but have one thing stopping me and that's my tattoo on my face... Keen as on job or work place that will take me on."

His plea for help went viral with the man being inundated with job offers, as well as tattoo removal service Sacred Laser offering to remove his tattoo for free.

Photo: Youtube Screenshot

Cropp finally settled on a scaffolding job which his girlfriend, Taneio Ruki, says could begin as early as next Monday (July 24).

As far as bad tattoo incidents go, Cropp's experience is right up there in terms of strangeness with the story of a Brazilian teen getting the word "loser" tattooed across his forehead after he was caught stealing a bicycle.

Fortunately for Cropp, his story ends a whole lot more pleasantly as compared to the Brazillian kid.

Thank goodness for kind internet users.

nicchew@sph.com.sg

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