Squishy awesomeness


How would you feel if someone delivered a hug to your office? Judging by the 36 folks on my Hug Tour yesterday, you'd be psyched.

A month ago, I gave Kim Daulton 25 tiny hearts to thank her for how much she gives as a social worker and friend. While I was there, she offered to take a mental health day from work to go on a Hug Tour around Washington, DC together.

Yesterday was the big day! We visited office buildings, met people on the street and hosted a hugging happy hour to cap it all off.

Highlights in words & images:

  • Rainy hugs kinda rock. I started my day with an impromptu hug with Jill Fosterbefore my first scheduled stop. The rain was pouring, but you wouldn't have noticed by the big smile she had on her face as we met in the middle of the street, both drenched. Squishy & awesome.
  • The best hugs often don't get photographed (including Jill & me). You're too busy hugging!
  • Another sign of good hugging? Blurry photos. Even the photographer can be too excited to hold the camera steady sometimes. More than that though, when you are hugging like you mean it, you forget about everything else. People hug-sway, let go and re-hug, jump up and down, you name it. All good.
  • Amy Liz Martin's mom was missing her daughter and asked that we give her a "long distance mommy hug." Kim and I got the security guards from the building in on the surprise and snuck into her office. One look at us and she started crying.
  • Something happens right before the hug. We saw a lot of pure joy yesterday. Faces lit up as we walked into cubicles. It was like we were delivering flowers or cupcakes. Maybe better.
  • The Natural. You know those people who hug so well they stop you in your tracks. If you ever need one, Brenda works at the front desk of Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health near Union Station. Worth it.
  • Interviews! I was delighted to be interviewed by a couple folks along our route, including Dr Ted Eytan. His post & podcast are here. We discussed what hugging could look like in a medical care setting, and at a company, and how it doesn't have to include physical contact.
  • An office who hugs together...? GovLoop takes their hugging and high-fiving seriously. By the time we arrived, folks were waiting by the front desk for us. See a video of our hugs in action here!
  • Two Huggers are better than one. I've walked around airports and cities wearing my Hug t-shirt before. People read it quickly, then look away. When you see two t-shirts, though, something must be up. There were longer stares yesterday, and questions asked. More huggers mean more impact.
  • Hugging is hard work! We had a short break between hug stops in the afternoon and took advantage by recharging our phone batteries and our own. Kim caught a mini- and much-deserved siesta (I snuck the photo below).

Finally, what happens after the hug is a mystery.

Yesterday felt great. I know we changed people's lives. Maybe we turned a couple Mondays around, or inspired someone to show their loved ones how much they care. Giving generously requires you to trust that what you give will be received, though you may never find out how. I felt changed, and that's more than enough.

A special thank you to Kim for being my partner-in-hugging and faithful navigator.

Want to see a recap of all the tweets from yesterday? Lots of good stuff!