Yesterday, I spent the day with someone very special to me. He greeted me with a big hug and it lifted my entire mood immediately. It made me realize that I am severely lacking in the hug department. The power of an embrace has the ability to totally impact and reroute someone’s day. If you don’t believe this, then keep reading.
I’m the last person to be a fan of strangers touching me…however, I totally related to the Free Hugs campaign started by Juan Mann. Juan is a guy who, after going through a series of difficult events in his own life, returned to his hometown. As he arrived at the airport, he witnessed people being welcomed by friends and family, open arms and smiles abound. With no open arms waiting for Juan, he decided to make it his sole mission to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their lives.
Mann began his campaign with a cardboard sign marked with FREE HUGS on both sides. At first, passer-byers did just that…passed by. I guess their initial reaction was fear…to hug a stranger. Afterall, there are a lot of creepy, bad intentioned people out there.
Juan’s campaign actually was banned…can you imagine? Banned for public liability blah blah blah…however, his Hugathon has since continued. He even made it to Oprah’s guest chair with his simple, yet powerful message.
At the end of the day, we all have to remember that there is still a growing pool of goodness swimming out there. The good people. The big hearts. The genuine souls. Eventually people approached Juan, sharing stories of things in their lives that a hug seemed the very remedy at that moment. Loneliness, loss…totally curable, or at least tolerable, with the encouraging simplicity of a hug.
Check out Juan’s journey with his Free Hugs campaign. The video is certain to make you smile. It’s amazing the power of even just watching people place trust in one another and open their arms.
Who knows, it might inspire you to do your part to brighten the day of a stranger!