During the holidays I had a mini-vacation with my husband in Ojai, California, and met this "gutsy" man at the farmers' market on a Sunday morning. He seemed friendly and gentle, so I had to find out:
Why was he holding a sign that read "Free Hugs?"
First I hugged him, then I decided to interview him. I needed to find out the: who, what, where, when and why?
The first thing he said was, "I have the best job in the whole world."
That struck me as odd, and I started thinking, "Is he getting paid to hug?" and if so, "am I supposed to donate money?" I didn't see a hat or a box on the ground for collecting coins—and besides, the sign did read "Free Hugs."
Something strange happened to me during our hug. I started thinking how one simple hug can connect two strangers. Imagine if we could start a hugging revolution, and transform the world.
There's something special about a hug; it bonds humanity.
After receiving a warm hug, I asked him more questions.
"I hear so many stories from people I hug," he said.
"Can you give me one example," I asked, always looking for a good story.
"This morning a woman collapsed on my shoulder and told me her husband passed away last Wednesday. She said she longed for a human touch."
I thought about how this man shows up every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to comfort lonely people, some who are grieving, others who are longing for a person to show they care. He does have an important "job."
The man told me there's a worldwide movement to give "Free Hugs" and that I can Google it. So I did when I got back to my room at the Blue Iguana Inn.
I found this video, and explanation of the "Free Hugs" worldwide movement.
The Free Hugs Campaign is a social movement involving individuals who offer hugs to strangers in public places. The hugs are meant to be random acts of kindness - selfless acts performed just to make others feel better.
I do think you have to be "gutsy" to stand on a street and offer "Free Hugs."
What about you?
Are you Gutsy enough to give a stranger a "Free Hug"?
Sonia Marsh is a “Gutsy” woman who can pack her carry-on and move to another country in one day. She’s a motivational speaker who inspires her audiences to get out of their comfort zone and take a risk. She says everyone has a “My Gutsy Story”; some just need a little help to uncover theirs. Her story, told in her travel memoir Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island, is about chucking it all and uprooting her family to reconnect on an island in Belize.
Sonia has lived in many countries – Denmark, Nigeria, France, England, the U.S. and Belize – Sonia Marsh considers herself a citizen of the world. She holds a degree in environmental science from the University of East Anglia, U.K., and now lives in Southern California with her husband, Duke.