More on Free Hugs

15 Nov

Follow-up on the Free-Hugs Campaign
I think the video I linked to tells the story in the best way, but here are some details that you won’t get from just watching it.

The man in the video goes by the name “Juan Mann” (one man). He posted the video on YouTube with the screen-name “PeaceOnEarth123.”

He’s started a website to chronicle the “free hugs campaign” at

There he writes about how it all started:

“I’d been living in London when my world turned upside down and I’d had to come home. By the time my plane landed back in Sydney, all I had left was a carry on bag full of clothes and a world of troubles. No one to welcome me back, no place to call home. I was a tourist in my hometown.

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.

So I got some cardboard and a marker and made a sign. I found the busiest pedestrian intersection in the city and held that sign aloft, with the words “Free Hugs” on both sides.”

The City Council for Sydney Australia, where Juan Mann started offering hugs, decided that he might cause irreperable damage and required him to purchase $25 milliion in public liability insurance. He didn’t, and they demanded that he stop.

As the video shows, a successful petition enabled Juan Mann to continue offering hugs to people.

On a particularly bad day, one of Juan Mann’s friends (a member of the unfortunately named band Sick Puppies) edited a video to help cheer him up.

This is the video that ended up on YouTube.

Free Hugs have since been offered in California (Berkeley, San Diego, Hollywood), Seattle, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Italy, Mexico City, Ohio University, Newfoundland, British Columbia, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Korea, Krakow, New York, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Toronto, Venezuela, Germany, and the list just goes on and on and keeps getting bigger.


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