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.