Today I want to share with you the experience that we had on Valentine’s Day, when a group of six Atlas Corp fellows and one staff went to Dupont Circle in Washington DC to give free hugs. It was a cold Saturday afternoon. Surprisingly, while walking towards the event, we realized that there were people giving roses away. We said, we are not the only ones who thought about spreading some love today. Once we got there, those people approached us and seemed surprised for the idea of giving free hugs. Right away, they took two extra “Free hugs signs” and joined us in our cause. Later, a groom and bride party arrived to Dupont Circle to take pictures for the wedding, and when the bride realized we were giving free hugs away, immediately she wanted a picture with the free hugs givers and signs.
For most of the fellows who were involved in the activity, it was their first time giving free hugs. Some of them admitted that it was embarrassing in the beginning. However, by the end of the activity all of them were so happy for being part of this “crazy” but human experience of sharing good energy and love with others.
While giving free hugs, we had many reactions from the people who were walking around us (as it was expected): some of them were so excited, so open to hug us, and expressed their support for this initiative. On the other hand, some people were a little shy in the beginning and not too sure about hugging us back, but ended up doing it. However, there were other group of people who rejected the idea of being hugged, which was expected as well. For instance, there was a gentleman who once we told him: “Free hugs, would you like a free hug?” he answered: “Free hugs? Nothing in life is free” and kept walking.