By Jenny – First Time Guerrilla Hugger!
Not long ago… A good friend of mine – Amandeep, told me about this crazy idea of giving out free hugs on Carnaby Street, and that I should come along…. and I thought… naaaaah… your alright you crazy woman… i’ll join you afters for a beer though?
It had been one of those very long days at work… that was thankfully behind me, the walk to Carnaby Street cleared my head, and I was sure that a pint would go down a treat. But you know what? I got more than I bargained for when I turned up to find a group of folks surrounded in a buzz of laughter, happiness, and hugs.
For the rest of the evening (apart from when we decided to kill the karaoke machine in some unknown joint in Soho) I listened to the Guerrilla Navigator and her team talk about Guerilla Hugs, talk about why they did what they did, what the reactions were in people who may or may not have accepted a free hug, and having seen footage and photos I realised just how much impact a little human affection as simple as a hug could change a persons mood.
Sign me up.. I thought… I was sold on the idea.
So last night… I turned up on Brick Lane, with the intention of becoming one of the “huggers”. Problem was…. I had thought about it too much. Do I want to hug all those strangers? I was having the same thought as those people who walked by gracefully declining a free hug… with the thought in their minds…. urrrggghhh bodily contact with strangers??? No thanks. So I whispered quietly to Amandeep… “I was thinking of pulling out. I still want to support you guys. But I’m not sure about this.”
Well that was met with the coolest reaction from everyone in the team. “Thats totally fine Jen… you don’t have to do anything. Loads of people feel the same. It’s cool. Why don’t you take photos instead? Thats still supporting us!”.
Phew I thought, (well.. actually I thought “Jen… you are such a wimp” ) …so official photographer it is then.
It took about 10 minutes before I gave up role of official photographer to take up my place as official hugger. Ok we all know we love hugs… and yes people have friends and family to hug… but if you think about it… really think about it… I bet you will realise you don’t hug enough. For whatever reason.
It was really great to see people realise they were in for a free hug and then see the looks on their faces as they walked away with a little more spring in their step.
A hug has a seriously positive impact on people… and there is absolutely nothing wrong with creating more positivity in another persons life, albeit for a moment. They will appreciate it for sure… and the good thing about a hug is its a two way thing. Double the impact!!