HAZARD — No matter how good a person is at multi-tasking, doing anything one handed will usually cause the outcome to be less than impressive. This, however, is not the case with one of the state’s newest licensed barbers.
Twenty-seven-year-old Chris Bunn is one of three one-armed barbers known in the nation, and he’s practicing his craft here in Hazard.
“When I went to the board to take my state testing, I asked them, I said I gotta know, am I the first one in this state to do this, I said for real, and they said yeah,” Bunn said.
While this accomplishment may bring a smile to the Breathitt County native’s face now, it would not have six years ago just after the accident that caused him to lose his left arm just below the elbow. In 2007, Bunn and his now ex-girlfriend had been arguing. In an attempt to blow off some steam, Bunn took his crotch rocket, a type of high-powered motorcycle, out to go to church, for which he was already late.
“I was driving how you’re not supposed to drive on a crotch rocket, just being a guy I guess. I was passing five vehicles in a straight stretch, it was a nice day, nothing was coming. I got up on the front vehicle and he turned right in front of me,” Bunn said.
His insurance agent told him his speedometer was stuck at 109 mph when it was checked after the wreck. Bunn said he went through a camper attached to the vehicle he hit.
About six months after the wreck, Bunn said it was clear to him and his doctors that use of his left arm would not return, and he made the decision to have it amputated.
“He (the doctor) said I don’t see any reason why it should come back; it’d be a miracle. I said I believe I’m all miracled out,” Bunn chuckles, remembering that day. “I can laugh about it now, but at the time it wasn’t funny. That’s a rude awakening, that’s when reality really sets in.”
Bunn began training to become a barber about two years ago when he enrolled in Bailey’s Barber College in Lexington, but becoming a barber had never been something he thought about doing before then.
“I was getting my hair cut by the guy that used to cut my hair in Jackson, and at that point in time I was taking welding classes up here at HCTC at the technical campus, a couple of semesters, and I was pretty good at it,” Bunn explained. “He said, I know if you can weld one handed you can cut hair one handed. I don’t know, he just kind of put it in my mind.”
Before his wreck, Bunn said he had worked as a fire fighter and a sheriff’s deputy, and had never dreamed he would be doing anything remotely close to what he is doing today. After passing his state board testing in March, Bunn accepted a job at NLINE Barbershop in Hazard.
Walking into a barbershop and seeing a barber waiting to cut your hair with one hand may not be an ideal situation for some, but Bunn said he has had reactions ranging from shock to people not even noticing he only uses one hand until they are paying.
“Like this one guy, he got his kid up out of the chair and left. He didn’t even let me try, which I can understand that. I mean, I’d be the same way,” he said, laughing at the reaction.
On his second day, Bunn still seemed a bit stunned that he is where he is and doing what he is doing now.
“My mom asked me the other day, she said if you, after everything that’s happened, with all the good stuff that’s happened, would you go back and take it back, take back your wreck. I thought about it for a minute, and I said no I wouldn’t because it’s changed the way you look at life for one, and another thing, I’m at church on time every Sunday,” he laughs.
Since his graduation date from Bailey’s, Bunn has been interviewed by numerous local television stations and publications about his story and life since the accident, however, he said he does not want to be viewed as a celebrity because that’s simply not who he is.
“If I can help some kid who may have limitations to see that they can do something, that’s awesome, but I’m not a celebrity.”