Sam Johnson hit the accelerator as he made the turn onto Read Street, the short burst of speed covering about 200 feet of asphalt, before coming to a quick stop in front of the barbershop.
About a half-dozen men on the sidewalk took a quick step back as Steve Benjamin, candidate for Columbia mayor, slowly got out of the passenger seat in what was once one of the city's worst drug areas.
After his five-minute visit, Benjamin got back into the car and turned to jokingly admonish his young driver.
"You can't just roll up and stop like that ... and we pop out like Starsky and Hutch," Benjamin said. "Read Street is a lot better, but it's still Read Street."
Despite his hurried entrance, Benjamin's barbershop visit was not spontaneous. In his effort to become the capital city's first black mayor, Benjamin has spent close to $280,000, and all of that money means Benjamin did not walk into that barbershop without a plan. In this case, it was tucked under his arm.