People Making a Difference – Free Hugs

FreeHugs People can make a difference in many different ways. I was lucky enough to find the following story on a post, on by Arpit Jacob, 9 Videos To Inspire And Cheer You Up.

Juan Mann started his journey in London, heading back home to Sydney, Australia. He was returning home with nothing but his carry on bag of clothes, and as he says ‘a world full of troubles.’

From the Free Hugs Campaign site, that Juan started:

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.

Juan’s experience motivated him to create change. He got a cardboard sign, wrote Free Hugs on both sides and went to busiest pedestrian intersection in the city.

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.

Juan realized in this age of disconnection and lack of human contact that he wanted to reach out. He wanted to make a positive impact, and positive impact he has made. The following video with music “All the same” by the Sick Puppies documents the campaign.

For a while Juan was banned. But he received 10,000 signatures to reverse this decision. Watch the video for an overview of the whole story.

Thanks to Juan Mann for his positive contribution to make the world a better place, and thanks to Arpit Jacob for letting me know the great work that Juan is doing. Juan proves it doesn’t have to be a huge change to make a positive impact, it can be as simple as giving a stranger a hug. I think that is a great place to start.


6 Responses to “People Making a Difference – Free Hugs”

  1. Arpit Jacob Says:

    Spread the word Spread the love that’s the least we could do 🙂 .

  2. Opal Tribble Says:

    I saw this sometime last year.

    Juan realized in this age of disconnection and lack of human contact that he wanted to reach out.

    Interesting that you mentioned “lack of human contact” when I created my most recent post “A Rare Photo” I was thinking of those exact words. At times, online, it’s easy to hide behind a profile name and not reveal too much about yourself. I truly appreciate the bloggers, like yourself, that not only reveal small aspects of your life the snapshots, for me, is the icing on the cake. 😉

    I’m the type that is always smiling and saying “hello” to people when I’m about and about. I occasionally get odd looks because depending on where you are that it might not be done. I guess I try to bring part of my human side online through my writings and sharing photos of what is going on in my world

  3. Thomas Says:

    Arpit – Thank you for your initial post. I was right inline with my Get Back Up post. Spreading the word is the least we can do.

    Opal – I think in this age of Internet connectedness that we are sometimes disconnected. We hide behind profiles, and people may or may not know who we really are. I enjoyed Arpit’s post and really thought is was worth forwarding. Thanks for posting your picture, it is always nice to see pictures of your online friends.
    I am the type of person that smiles and says hello also, but being 6’2″ with a shaved head, people are sometimes unsure if I mean hello, or give me your wallet.

  4. teeni Says:

    Wow. Great post. Loved the video. I can see how people might have initially been suspicious of Juan with his big cardboard sign. My skeptical first thought would have been that he would be pickpocketing me. LOL. Sad, but true. But I would have watched him a while and then went and gotten a hug myself. 😉 I’m going to go back to the 9 videos post and watch more of them when I have some time.

  5. Deanna Says:

    This is one of my favorite videos. I watch it often and recommend it to folks frequestly. I love the sequels and that the idea is spreading in so many places. Some folks are taking it to the spontaneous event stage, hit and run hug ins at malls and such. You know me, always happy to hug. Thanks for spreading the word.

  6. Thomas Says:

    teeni – I agree that I can see how people would be suspicious, which when you think about it, is a sad first response. In this day and age of scammers it can be hard to trust people. It is definitely worthwhile to watch the rest of the videos.

    Deanna – I had not seen this video before, but I am deifnitely glad I did. I agree that we get too caught up sometimes and forget to stop and smell the roses. We need to keep in mind that technology is supposed to help us, not separate and isolate us.

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