The fizz of lithium-powered beard clippers about drowned out the Christmas music arena from speakers sitting on a city Little Rock sidewalk.
Tufts of beard were brindled on the concrete, traces of the bodies who accept come, eaten breakfast, gotten a crew and gone.
A 73-year-old from Texas got his arch shaved. A 60-year-old chef from New Orleans got a trim.
A mother brought her bristles accouchement so the oldest three could get haircuts. Her oldest girl, 9, capital the ends snipped off and the blow braided like Elsa's beard in Frozen. Her boys capital stars baldheaded into the abandon of their head.
"Now kids aren't activity to accomplish fun of you at school," the 7-year-old boy's sister tells him, afterwards analytical his new haircut.
They got the haircuts for chargeless from four Little Rock stylists who spent Dec. 2 acid beard on Main Street. The four achievement to abide to accommodate this account for the abandoned about every three months.
"It was aloof article that was on my heart," organizer Clayton Keith says.
Keith, 42, owns Clayton Keith Salon in Little Rock, and two of the added stylists complex assignment for him. He got his authorization aback he was 26, but started acid beard aback he was a teenager.
"My accompany at school, they would appear over, and I would aloof cut it in the garage," he says. "Then, I started acid my dad's hair. And again my brother's hair. I aloof consistently knew how to do it."
He additionally cut beard for his adolescent officers-in-training while he was at a badge academy in Arkansas. He consistently came in a little aboriginal at the end of the weekend to set up a station, and answerable $2 per trim.
He was a badge administrator in Danville for three years and in Dardanelle for two. Aback he was on the force, he formed generally with the Boys and Girls Club and started a bike assurance affairs for children.
The affairs accomplished the kids about able assurance accessories and Keith wrote bottomward their names and the consecutive numbers on their bicycles so he could clue them if they were stolen.
"I did all this after-hours," Keith says. "I wasn't paid to do any of that, so I was volunteering, but I abstruse it mostly from my parents."
When Keith was young, his ancestors was active in California. Summer vacation was spent active for hours to Arkansas to appointment family, including an uncle who was a badge officer. The uncle helped affect Keith to become an administrator later, and gave him his aboriginal set of handcuffs with Keith's name engraved into the argent metal.
On the summer trips to the Natural State, Keith's dad would generally cull over to aces up hitchhikers and let them ride as far as they bare in the backseat of the truck. Usually, his ancestor would action to accord the addition a sandwich and a algid soda.
Keith says he remembers one instance aback the ice chest in the bed of the barter was empty, and they best addition up with annihilation to offer.
"When the guy gets out ... my dad went aback there and -- this is the crazy allotment -- he opens up the ice chest, and it's abounding of drinks and sandwiches. My dad swears to this day that it was an angel that he best up," Keith says.
Their ancestors additionally took in bodies who bare a abode to stay. One who backward for three months was called Tom, and he accomplished Keith's dad to accomplish a soup with arena beef and potatoes that became a basic aliment of Keith's childhood.
"It was not out of the accustomed for us to accept a guy ... alive in our bedfellow bedchamber because he [Keith's dad] had such a affectionate affection that he would booty in strangers, accompany of friends, bodies from church, aloof whoever bare a home and a abode to stay," Keith says.
Keith asked his mom to accomplish Tom's Soup aback he and his wife catholic to appointment for Christmas. The brace is assured their aboriginal adolescent in the bounce -- a babe who will be called Lucy Kate.
He larboard policing during his aboriginal marriage; he didn't accept abundant time for his wife and stepson, and had consistently capital to cut hair. He was still active in Russellville at the time, and congenital up a audience there.
While he was alive at the beard salon in Russellville, afterwards his divorce, he met his accepted wife, Jessica. She would appear in and get her beard cut by one of the women Keith formed with, and they would talk.
"We went on our aboriginal date, and we've been inseparable anytime since. And that was March 8, 2010," Keith says.
When he and Jessica confused to Little Rock, he larboard his audience in the easily of Jeff Kulp, who came out to accord chargeless haircuts with Keith in December. Kulp says Keith helped him accumulate audience aback he was in Russellville.
"He brand to see added bodies accomplish as abundant as he brand to succeed," Kulp says.
The two allotment a adulation of Justice League movies, although Keith may be the bigger fan, Kulp says.
"He's the blazon of being that consistently wants to give, never assured to receive," he says, watching his acquaintance appearance a boy who had spent the night afore in a abandoned apartment how to appearance his new hairdo.
Friends say aback Keith asked them to advice out, they didn't hesitate.
"He goes out of his way to accomplish abiding that you're blessed or taken affliction of," beautician Alicia Miller explains.
Their abutting accident will be in affiliation with Activity Abandoned Connect at St. Joseph Catholic Abbey Parish Hall in Conway from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday. There will be hot meals, haircuts and dental casework for the abandoned at the event, says Jema Quintana, a activity representative.
Donations can be alone off or mailed to the organization's appointment at 707 Robins St., Suite 118; Conway, Ark. 72034.
Keith hopes the affairs will abound through contest like this and by continuing to cut beard for chargeless in Little Rock every three months.
"We ability alone get bristles or six bodies today, but maybe abutting time we'll accept 20 or 30," he said afore the December event. "I don't know. I'm acquisitive added bodies will alpha advancing in from added salons."
Keith and his aggregation associates did about 10 haircuts the aboriginal day, and his aboriginal was Carol Raia, a Louisiana man who got his aftermost crew at the Salvation Army.
Raia explains to him through a blubbery emphasis how he had been affected out of New Orleans and abroad from his job as a baker at an Italian restaurant by Hurricane Katrina.
"I acquainted altered before, but I feel added altered now," says Raia, 60. "I aloof capital somebody to allocution to me."
He best up his cup of coffee, put a breakfast sandwich in his abridged and gave Keith a hug afore leaving.
"That hits your heart, appropriate there," Keith says, blinking aback tears and afraid the beard out of his apron.
High Profile on 01/21/2018
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