Sunday, February 17, 2008

Free Hug Campaign -- Creating peace, one hug at a time

I've said it before and I'll say it again, nothing in the world beats a hug -- even if it's from a complete stranger.
I was so excited today when I ran across an amazing video on YouTube about a guy who holds up a "free hug" sign in heavily-trafficked areas.

Intrigued, I went to the Web site the video told me to check out -- WOW. That's all I have to say... such a cool movement. Here's the powerful story of the creator, Australian Juan Mann, according to the site:

"I'd been living in London when my world turned upside down and I'd had to come home. By the time my plane landed back in Sydney, all I had left was a carry on bag full of clothes and a world of troubles. No one to welcome me back, no place to call home. I was a tourist in my hometown. Standing there in the arrivals terminal, watching other passengers meeting their waiting friends and family, with open arms and smiling faces, hugging and laughing together, I wanted someone out there to be waiting for me. To be happy to see me. To smile at me. To hug me. So I got some cardboard and a marker and made a sign. I found the busiest pedestrian intersection in the city and held that sign aloft, with the words "Free Hugs" on both sides. And for 15 minutes, people just stared right through me. The first person who stopped, tapped me on the shoulder and told me how her dog had just died that morning. How that morning had been the one year anniversary of her only daughter dying in a car accident. How what she needed now, when she felt most alone in the world, was a hug. I got down on one knee, we put our arms around each other and when we parted, she was smiling. Everyone has problems and for sure mine haven't compared. But to see someone who was once frowning, smile even for a moment, is worth it every time."

How flippin' touching is that? It's amazing to witness the impact of just a simple hug. I would totally be down for organizing a "free hug" day here is the Detroit area if anyone would like to join me!

Check out reactions of the movement from people from all over the globe here.

P.S. The kick butt background song used in the video is "All The Same" by Sick Puppies.

No comments: