Cork barber goes the extra mile

cork barber Evan O’Dwyer Donncha O’Connell autism hair cut

When longtime customer Evan O’Dwyer couldn’t make it to his barber, his barber went the extra mile to make sure his customer got a hair cut.

Cork barber Donncha O’Connell had no hesitation in jumping into the back of a car to cut Evan’s hair, after the 16-year-old, who has severe autism and is non-verbal, refused to have his haircut in the shop, The Baldy Barber in Blackpool in Cork.

The sensory challenges associated with the condition can make sitting in a barber’s chair a painful and uncomfortable experience, making getting a haircut for Evan “tough” and sometimes a two person job, depending on his mood.

“Evan for the last 14 years has gone to the same place. I just found that there was something about [Donncha]. He’s so laidback. He’s so good,” said Evan’s mum Deidre.

“At the moment it would take two of us to bring him but I finished work yesterday and I said ‘we’ll go and get the haircut’ and he was grand going in.”

All was fine to begin with, but soon after sitting in the chair Evan decided he wanted to leave, just as Donncha had gone over his hair with the razorblade.

Wanted to leave

Deidre added: “He decided he wanted to leave. He was at the scissors and ready to do destruction.”

Donnacha then assisted Deidre and Evan’s brother Dylan in taking Evan back to the car.

“Calmly as we could we got him into the car and Donncha said ‘look, I’ll do his hair in the car’ so he jumped in to the back seat, with Dylan holding Evan’s hand and worked there,” Deirdre told The Neil Prendeville Show on Cork’s Red FM.

“He then had to jump around to the other side to get to the other side of his head. No bother to him.”

While Donnacha admitted it was the first time he’d cut a customer’s hair in the back of a car, he said it wasn’t a “huge deal”.

Got with it

“Obviously it’s a big thing for Deirdre. You do what you have to do. Evan can decide where and when he wants to get his hair done but we go with it,” said Donnacha.

“We do have a few with special needs coming in. You take your time. Kids in general, I find that if you’re relaxed around them then they generally don’t have an issue.”

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