CARRBORO, NC — In a shocking turn of events this afternoon, patrons of the Open Eye Café in Carrboro saw beanie guy Erik Stallings, 34, revealed to be a bald guy.
“I was standing in line at the cash register,” recounted witness Daniella Ortiz,” and I saw the beanie guy sitting at a table near the counter. He looked like he always does. I’ve seen him [at Open Eye] a hundred times, always wearing that same beanie. But as he was sitting there today, a woman who had just picked up a hot cup of coffee from the bar sort of tripped on the leg of his chair and spilled some of her drink on the back of his head.”
Wilson Sharpe, who was sitting at a table adjacent to Stallings’s at the time of the incident, described what happened next.
“[Stallings] yelled something,” said Sharpe, “and he stood up and whipped off his beanie to look at where the coffee had spilled on it. A second later, he realized what we all had seen, but by then it was too late.”
Ortiz said that she felt surprised and betrayed.
“Before I knew what was happening, I was staring at his sweaty, pale scalp and the thin, matted hair that only covered the edges of it,” she said. “I always assumed that the beanie was just his style, or maybe that his head was cold. I don’t know what I thought. But it never occurred to me that he was hiding something.”
“You see someone all the time, and I guess you naturally assume the best of them,” she said. “But it turns out that no one had a clue.”
Bartender Thannon Woods, who was on duty at the time of the incident and described himself as “a casual acquaintance” of Stallings, expressed similar astonishment.
“I’ve always assumed that he has a full head of hair,” he said. “He has a beard, and his sideburns are so thick. I’m sorry, I don’t know what to say right now.”
According to multiple sources and UNC-CH records, Stallings is a third-year graduate student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Associates there described him as “friendly” and “quiet,” saying that he never showed hints of his secret.
“I met Erik when we were first-years here,” said fellow graduate student Wayne Fan, “and for all the time that I’ve known him, I’ve thought of him as nothing more than a beanie guy. I shudder to think that I was talking and working with a bald guy the whole time.”
Upon hearing reports of this afternoon’s incident, Don and Martha Stallings said they were aghast to learn the truth about their son.
“Of course we knew Erik was bald,” they said in a statement to the press. “We could never have imagined that he had become a beanie guy.”