INDIANAPOLIS — Sixteen years ago, Chris Martin was locking the doors at Clippers Barber Shop when one of his young customers made an impression on him that would last a lifetime.
That customer is now a grown man, fighting cancer, and Martin is looking to help him out.
Macklin Swinney, 26, is a Ben Davis High School graduate with stage four melanoma. This is his second bout with cancer as he thought he had it beaten two years ago.
Martin will use his love of music to put on a benefit concert for Swinney and his family from 8 p.m. to midnight April 19 at Indy West Conference Center.
“He was my last customer one night,” recalls Martin of his chance friendship with Swinney. “After I cut his hair, he asked ‘how much do I owe you?’ and whatever it was back then, I told him. He had exactly that and he said ‘I don’t have enough money,’ and I said ‘yeah you do, right there.’”
Swinney said that meant he didn’t have enough for a tip, and that “you always tip your barber.”
“Well, I knew he was a good kid right there,” Martin said, adding that he told the then 11-year-old that as long as he’d keep coming back to get haircuts, he’d never ask him for a tip.
“He said ‘no, I’m going to make this right with you.’” Martin recalls. “I went to clean up, do the books, locking up as I’m leaving and here he comes waving a dollar at me saying ‘Wait! Wait!’ Well, we were fast friends right after that.
“He’s the kind of kid, if you meet him, he’s a bright spot in the middle of the day. He comes in and the room lights up. If you knew him, you’d like him and be friends with him. That’s just the way he is.”