A barber from Wales has won the hearts of thousands of people who have praised him for his kindness, after he lay on the floor to cut the hair of an autistic boy who was too scared to sit in the hairdresser's chair.

Denine Davies, 34, had been unable to get her four-year-old son's Mason's hair cut properly after a bad experience when he was just 18 months old that left him terrified of going to the barbers. "Mason's ear must have been slightly caught by the clipper when he had his last haircut when he was 18 months old as he won't let anyone go near that ear and is terrified of the barber," she explained.

"We looked for specialist barbers but had had no luck. Both me and his dad Jamie were really upset as his hair was getting scruffy and we could only cut off chunks so it looked a mess and stuck up. I had resorted to cutting it myself but I didn't exactly do a good job and often left his fringe wonky or missed bits as it would upset him too much. Then I heard about James and that he is good with kids and had successfully cut the hair of another child with autism."

Denine and her partner Jamie Lewis, 29, visited the barber at Jim the Trim in Briton Ferry, Wales, several times, allowing James to slowly build up a relationship with Mason, who suffers from a moderate form of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which slows down speech development with the result that Mason can only say a few words.

On Tuesday (3 November) Denine watched speechless as James lay prostrate on the floor beside Mason to cut his hair as the toddler played with his mother's iPhone. It was Mason's first proper hair cut in two-and-a-half years.

Denine, who lives nearby in Port Talbot, Wales, said: "I can't believe what James did - most barbers would be eager to get on to their next customer as they would be losing money but he didn't mind at all and dedicated all his attention on helping Mason.

"People don't realise how difficult it can be for a child with ASD and how much it means to parents like me and Jamie. This was the first proper hair cut he has had since he was 18 months old. Seeing Mason get stressed and upset is so traumatic so when James did this it meant the world."

James, who opened his barber shop six years ago, said he just wanted to make sure Mason was not upset. James said: "I know how difficult it can be and my main concern was making sure Mason was happy and not upset. So when I saw he was comfortable on the floor, I thought nothing of getting down on my belly and having a go. It's the oddest place I've ever cut someone's hair, but if that is what works, that is fine with me.

"Once I started doing it I looked up at Denine and Jamie and they were both speechless. They clearly couldn't believe it and were so happy. They have clearly gone through so much with him so to see him let me do it with no fuss clearly meant a lot. I felt chuffed to have been able to help but didn't think much more about it.

"But before I knew it, the pictures had gone viral and I had lots of other parents coming up and say "did I realise how much what I had done meant" There are lots of parents saying they will bring their children here now."

The pictures of James and Mason on the floor together have gone viral, with parents from across the UK, the US and Australia have contacted James, praising him for his kindness.

"All the other parents with children who have ASD now want to go and meet James too and see if he can help with their children. I'm very grateful for what he did and the time he gave up without a second thought," said Denine.

And it seems Mason is one happy customer too. "Even Mason was impressed," his mum explained. "Usually he gives him a high five when he leaves but after this occasion he ran over and hugged and kissed him."