The video, which has been viewed over 9.3 million times since being posted, features a heartwarming moment between the co-workers.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on April 13, 2021. It has since been updated.
A video shows the emotional moment a young man battling cancer was moved to tears by a heartwarming show of support from his colleague. The video, which has been viewed over 9.3 million times on TikTok since being posted, features Neftali Martin and Joel Ortega who are co-workers at the Lords and Barbers barbershop in Alicante, Spain. The clip begins with Martin—who is said to be fighting against cancer—getting his hair completely shaved off, which is typically done during chemotherapy as hair loss is a common side effect of treatment.
While Martin puts up a brave face as Ortega works around his head with a hair clipper, he is left momentarily stunned when his friend suddenly takes the device to his own head. As Ortega shaves his own hair without any hesitation, it takes Martin a few seconds to figure out what's happening. He lets out a small gasp as he understands his colleague's warm gesture and is visibly moved to tears. "'You are not alone.' Those were the words of my great friend and co-worker, immediately afterward, he shaved his head telling me that until I grew back he would continue shaving with me," Martin wrote on Instagram.
"For those who do not know him, [Ortega] is not just a co-worker, for me a brother. I love you, bro," he added. The video has captured the hearts of millions around the world, with many admiring the men's friendship and praising Ortega for going a step further for his dear friend. Meanwhile, it also sparked a heated discussion on Reddit where netizens debated the intentions of filming such a gesture. "If it was the barber that filmed it, it’s a pretty shi**y way to get internet points on someone else's misery," wrote u/NyJosh.
u/AlexMaldini appeared to share the same opinion, commenting: "It's a somewhat unpopular opinion but good deeds shouldn't be broadcasted." Several others countered that irrespective of whether the video was shared online to gain some clout, it is the empathetic thought behind the gesture that matters. "Seeing people do good things inspires others to do good. It also boosts the morale of those who see it. So while I somewhat agree and do understand where you are coming from, I respectfully disagree. Doesn't matter the intention of the person sharing, it's what it inspires that matters," wrote u/Bun_Bunz.
Meanwhile, there were also some Reddit users who were unimpressed by the gesture itself. "That hair will grow back in no time, he barely looks different. So cringey to act like you're making some big sacrifice for a video," wrote u/mobiuszeroone. Responding to the comment, u/Scarran6 tapped into their own experience battling cancer to present another perspective. "I have terminal cancer. I went through chemo and [radiation] last year," they wrote. "This is an amazing show of support for someone starting this long-ass journey. It's difficult starting treatments and feeling like no one is there for you or can even understand your situation. I can see why you (someone who doesn't have cancer) might not understand the gesture, but this clearly meant a lot for him. The impending doom is already enough to surmount. I would have been touched if my barber did this for me and would have lifted my spirits going into radiation. I hope you can understand how encouraging this might be even if it wasn't a major sacrifice."