Free Hugs

An old man, dressed in very simple casual smart manner, was standing alone in the middle of a crowded street by the train station, the busiest street in the city. The man was observing the craziness that was happening around him. The man saw people running to the train station in fear of missing their train, others walking by with their heads glued to their phones and their eyes can’t see beyond their phone screen. Even those who were walking in groups were either on their phones checking something, looking busy or were too busy to look at the their friends. The man stood there hopelessly. A minute later he went to the nearest souvenir shop bought a black permanent marker and an A3 sized carton. He looked at the people around him and realized that this craziness is missing an essential ingredient and these people are lacking something that is almost undefinable in one word. He stood there silently, then he wrote “FREE HUGS” and then he put his sign up trying to see what happens next. For the next ten minutes he stood there and not one person dared to come up to the man. He got a couple of glances and a few weird looks but yet everyone was pre-occupied with their lives. No one cared about anyone. The man has lived for forty two years and has seen different times, yet he has never seen this world be so unhuman. The sad thing is that most of these people just need a simple hug, a human contact to ease their every day pain. For some this hug could be comforting, to other just a gesture of kindness and there will be those who need an emotional boost and there is that one person who could put a smile on their faces for at least ten seconds. But no the pride is way stronger than the need to feel kindness, happiness and love. The man could understand the strange idea of hugging a complete stranger, but what if this is the only way? People today live side by side for years and some of them for years forget about the touch and the feel of the relationship and keep their so called ‘love’ going by other means. The man stood there for twenty minutes, hopeless and dissappointed he was about to give up when this five year old girl came up to him. She looked into his eyes and without asking any further questions she hugged him. She gave him a strong, comforting and loving hug and the man couldn’t help but smile. When she let him go she looked at him with her blue eyes and whispered: “Don’t be sad, it’s a beautiful day.” The girl’s mother came running after her daughter, almost in panic she approached the man. But when she saw her daughter she stopped for a moment. “Mummy, Mummy, give this man a hug. He looks sad. He needs a hug!” Her mother couldn’t help but agree, she approached the man and gave him a hug too. People on the street stopped as if the time slowed down. Most of them put down their phones, some of them starting taking photos and screaming out loud on social media of this wonderful gift of kindess. Ironic, isn’t it? Just a moment ago, no one cared and a second later it became the most important thing in their lives. A few others followed the girl’s example and a few more smiles lit up the street and brought positivity to this wonderful city. That moment the man realized that there is still hope for love, humanity and kindness. The man hoped that people would remember him and keep up this attitude and share happiness with their friends, lovers and families. He hoped that he has changed something in some of these people’s life even if it was just a tiny percentage of change. After all, he was sure that there was one little girl that will remember him and he couldn’t agree with her more — it was a beautiful day!

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