Carver teacher on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

In this photo released by Warner Bros., Carver Elementary School teacher Robert Dunham is surprised with a $10,000 check by actor Dax Shepard.

(Photo by Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.)

Robert Dunham woke up this June with a feeling that he needed to bring his hair clippers to work.

The George W. Carver Elementary School teacher had talked to his students the day before their moving on ceremony - a graduation from fifth to sixth grade - and they said they'd be looking their best. When he was getting ready for work, he felt that some of his students - many of whom reside in Richmond's Gilpin Court public housing community - might need a haircut.

He was right.

It started with one haircut, a lone student needing some tidying up. Then another teacher asked him to cut another student's hair, then another. Dunham estimates giving seven haircuts that day.

A photo of him giving them went viral soon after, making the rounds on social media and in media outlets across the world.

On Thursday, Dunham's act of kindness made its way onto “The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

"I really didn't expect any of that to happen," Dunham said of the picture getting international attention. "It's just been surreal."

Actor Dax Shepard, hosting the show for the day, called the haircuts "a very beautiful gesture."

Shepard surprised Dunham with $10,000 to pay off his car and an additional $10,000 toward a trip to Disney World.

Since the June event, Dunham has started a nonprofit, Be the Change RVA, that partners with local barbershops to give free haircuts to students.

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jmattingly@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6012

Twitter: @jmattingly306​

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