Yesterday morning I pumped up on coffee, grabbed my sign and headed down to the Harmony Lot to be a Free Hugger for the first time. My good pal Cam had come by with birthday presents and a muffin, and went with to take a few pix and share some hugs.
It was sunny. Very sunny. While we settled ourselves on the brick wall across from Frankie's it became apparent it was gonna be warm. "85, they said, on the weather report", said Cam. Oh yes, warm. No cloud cover.
Within a couple of minutes, people saw the sign and came over to hug. The first two young girls had apparently heard of the Free Hugs Campaign and even took pix wth me. Then I sat there holding the sign, smiling at the passersby who glanced and kept walking.
But pretty soon, people came over, unable to pass up hugging:
a big handsome gangsta type (if you haven't been hugged by a gangsta, get one)
a few homeless folk
lots of regular Brattleburgers
Greg Worden, Vt Artisan Design owner
Rick Neumann, stained glass artist
a young woman who cried in my arms
a couple of sweet older ladies
I lost count at 26 cuz a gang of tweeners grabbed me.
It's impossible to put into words how it feels. You're getting more hugs than you have ever in your life had at one time. People are hugging you for a reason and you don't know what their reason is unless they say so. One homeless guy had hung back when his girlfriend had already come for one. He came over, kinda bashful, but after the hug he broke into the biggest smile I've seen in forever. The young woman who cried in my arms took me by surprise. Here a beautiful girl, who should have the world at her feet, was heartbroken. I choked, but told her everything was gonna be all right. She whispered, "I hope so." And I hope so, too.
I'm sure people can do this without the emotional tour de force I got. But it blew me away. I came in just exhausted after 2 short hours. Really short- I thought it was only 45 minutes or so. But I felt on top of the world and totally humbled at the same time. Like I said; impossible to put into words. You really have to try it. I recommend everyone does it at least once. I'll be going back for more.