Friday, May 15, 2009

Free Hugs back with 10,000 signatures!

Some of you may be familiar with the Free Hugs videos that have been circulating around the web. I first was introduced to this movement of literally of reaching out to people by my friend Jay, when he discussed a group of college students he knew that organized and led a Free Hug day on their campus.

Over time and as the popularity of Free Hugs grew, the originator of the movement Jaun Mann, began to face some resistance and at one point was banned from holding Free Hugs days in public. After much effort and 10,000 people's signatures showing their support of Free Hugs, the ban has been lifted. In a world filled with so many lonely and hurting people, I'm happy to know that Free Hugs are BACK!

The following is an excerpt from the official Free Hugs Campaign Website:

How Free Hugs started:

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.

Why Did it get banned?

Public liability fear and red tape. But its all okay now! Make sure to check your local laws before embarking on your Hugathon!

Make someone's day - share a hug. It just might change our world!

1 comment:

Mel said...

It's an awesome story for the start of a great thing.

I've taken a couple Free Hugs--definitely a very cool thing.