Free Hugs!

There I was, happily working away earlier last week, when I hit the keyboard combination that Stumbles. Stumbling, for those who haven’t heard of it, is clicking on the Stumble! button (or hitting the keyboard combination, that I don’t actually know, but just accidentally hit every now and then) which gets the Stumble plug-in to stumble across a site you’ve (hopefully) not seen before.

Diversion: stumble-upon shows you a web site, you rate it (simple “I like it” or “No more like this”) and it learns what you like, compares with others who like what you like (and dislike what you dislike) to improve your stumbling experience. It’s great when you’re at a loose end and just want to find something new and interesting.

So, back to last week. I accidentally stumbled upon this site about a guy who arrived in an airport in a city where he knew nobody. He saw everyone else being greeted by friends and family with great big hugs, and wanted someone out there to hug him too.

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.

What an awesome idea, I thought. I have to do that when I get back to Melbourne. So imagine my surprise when I walked down rue St-Catherine this morning and saw about eight people with “Free Hugs” signs, one of whom was being interviewed on camera by a reporter. Of course I gave them all a big hug, and found out they’re planning to get 1000 people together for a free hug afternoon.

If you’re in Montreal, head over to rue St-Catherine for noon:

We are organising a huge FREE HUGS walk in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on December 23rd, 2006, from noon to 3:00pm. Our goal is to have over 10,000 people showing a FREE HUGS poster walking along Sainte-Catherine Street, one of the most occupied street in the Province of Quebec, especially in the holyday shopping season. We want to make a memorable impact, just before Christmas, so that people talk about it everywhere in the world, and so that families are inspired to share the free hugs in their community.

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