Today, while walking back to my dorm after a long chat with my professor about Romantic poet William Blake, I saw a guy walking around campus carrying a Free Hugs sign.
Though I had heard about this type of phenomenon before, I’d never actually seen it in person.
The Free Hugs campaign was initially started by Juan Mann (is that his real name? seriously?) during a time of disconnection in his life in order to brighten up the lives of other people who feel the same loss of belonging. The idea is to walk around a heavily populated area holding a sign that says Free Hugs and wait until people hug you. Simple. Effective.
Now, I’m not sure if this guy even knew this was a campaign or had just seen it on Youtube and thought it looked fun, but I applaud him for having the courage to do this.
Unfortunately, I do not possess that level of bravery. I walked right past him, even made eye contact and smiled, but I didn’t hug him. I was fully prepared to, but then he looked at me kind of nervously, as if he didn’t really want me to hug him, so I didn’t (at least that’s the excuse I’m making up for myself).
Now that I’ve had time to meditate on the situation, I regret not hugging him. Why shouldn’t I? Am I just like the other drones of society who have become disconnected with each other? The ones this campaign was intended for? I don’t want to be a drone. Do you?
So, today, my challenge for my readers (one I’ve already failed at myself) is to step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be a drone. Hug a stranger.*
*Not any stranger, especially a scary one. Please, use careful judgment.