I have seen a few film clips online where some beautiful young man is standing in a town or city holding up a sign that says “Free Hugs”. Lots of people (mainly young Ladies) flock to give them hugs and giggle as they walk away. This always makes me smile.
A few days ago I was walking through a small English Market town and there was an older man and woman, stood several feet apart, both holding signs that read “Free Hugs”. This time though people were just walking by. The couple were both smiling but were being ignored. Obviously not some gorgeous model type or young stud muffin to boast to your friends about hugging. I don’t know why they were doing this, whether they were there to offer comfort to others or felt the need to connect with others but I felt compelled to give at least one of them a hug before I went on my way. The man was nearest and his face beamed with pleasure as I smiled back and headed straight for him with open arms. We briefly hugged and he quietly said “bless you” as we parted a few seconds later.
Now I’m not a very touchy, feely kind of person and I’m not overly keen on strangers touching me, let alone hugging me. My husband and son, both gave me a very strange look, as they know how I feel about strangers. However, my answering glare said “Yeah? You got something to say about being kind to another human being??” and they both remained silent.
So what was it that compelled me to hug this stranger? I guess it was because no one else was bothering. I felt I had to let them know that they were doing something good. This was triggered by something that I witnessed the week before…. I was with someone who is going through a very rough time at the moment, struggling with the death of loved ones. They had been drowning their sorrows and ended up with no money, no food and struggling to cope. I went with them to a place where they could get some help and a hot meal. The man who welcomed them to this place, shook their hand and treated them with respect. It occurred to me at this point that I had never seen any other stranger give them that courtesy before.
We are all so quick to judge others. Maybe my couple offering free hugs were religious, maybe they just wanted to offer comfort to those in need, maybe they just wanted to put a smile on the faces of others and maybe they would be shocked to learn that they had received a hug from a Witch! Who knows! Maybe the compassion I witnessed between the man offering a hot meal and the person struggling to cope with life, was because this man had been in a similar place at one time in his life. I guess I will never know. What I do know, is that it is sad that this was such an unusual sight.
We all need a little compassion now and then and we certainly all need a hug once in a while. Kindness costs nothing and yet it can mean so much.
Sending out virtual Free Hugs to anyone that wants one.
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