Monday, October 09, 2006

Juan Mann. One Hug.

A little inspirational story about One Man and his campaign to give free hugs to strangers in the streets of Sydney.

YouTube video here.

The story behind it is here.

Today, the hugger was at it again, brandishing his "free hugs" sign in the busy pedestrian thoroughfare, and having quite a few people take him up on his offer.

"It's a way to make people smile," Mann said.

"For every person who gets a hug, you see five walk past with a smile on their face."

Juan Mann (pronounced one man) is a play on words, but the hugger insisted his rules included no names, no phone numbers, no relationships and no dates.


But his efforts to spread the love became a little too popular for some people's liking, according to a blurb on the YouTube video, which said: "As this symbol of human hope spread across the city, police and officials ordered the Free Hugs campaign BANNED."

Undeterred, Mann collected more than 10,000 signatures on a petition he presented to the City of Sydney council. Demands for a halt to the hugs petered out shortly after, and the end of the clip shows Mann hugging an official.

Speaking by phone from Los Angeles, where the Sick Puppies moved a year ago, the lead singer [Shimon Moore] said he mixed the video with their song All The Same as a gift for his friend, to lift his spirits after his grandmother died.

It had the desired effect. Four days ago, the band posted the clip on YouTube. By 3pm today, it had close to 700,000 hits and almost 6000 comments, most of them gushing.

Like this one: "Made me cry. I love you all!"

The musician said the video had taken Mann's mission worldwide.

"He's achieved what he set out to do and I was lucky enough to be there to film it," Moore said.

Thanks to Pharyngula.

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