This is our 10th year of hugging Victoria residents and tourists alike, and even though October’s weather has become a little drizzly, this has been our busiest year ever! We’ve had so many amazing moments during our hugging sessions – many already recorded in various posts, but we still have new ones all the time. Thought we should gather a few together and share them with you:
- Whenever a tour bus or one of Victoria’s Hop-On, Hop-Off buses go by, we make a point of waving to the drivers and the passengers. Many times they’ll wave back, but this summer a bus stopped for a red light while right in front of us. The next thing we knew, the door opened and a woman was coming down the stairs, exclaiming, “I want a hug!!” What could we do but oblige? 🙂 Fortunately we had time to rush over and share hugs before she returned to her seat and the light turned green again!
- We shared hugs with our first Chinese lion (at the end of the Dragon Boat races)
- In the past we once had a conga line of four pedi-cabs all stop in unison so we could share hugs with the drivers and passengers. Earlier this year we had a group of eight people on rental scooters pull over, share hugs with us and zoom off again!
- We shared hugs with our first Victoria Police Officer!
- We also shared hugs with two Military Police from CFB Esquimalt!
- We’ve shared many honks, smiles, waves and air hugs with people in vehicles, but we had one young woman (also stopped for a red light) climb halfway out of the passenger window and shout, “You two are so cute! If I wasn’t in a car I would hug you!”
- We share our space at the Homecoming Memorial with a variety of people on different occasions, but there are four others who are there consistently. Three of them are the sculpture of the naval officer coming home to his daughter (and her dog), but over in the northwest corner of the memorial there’s another sculpture of Captain John Mason, sitting on one of the benches. It’s interesting that there are 11 benches spaced around the memorial, but more often than not someone will be sitting with old John rather than anyone else. Earlier this year, however, we watched a young girl having a prolonged and very heartfelt chat with John, and after she was done she leaned over and gave him a kiss on his bronze cheek! His blush was not imagined.
- We’ve been sharing hugs for 10 years. However for only 5 of those years have we kept track of our Hugging Ambassadors home countries. In those 5 years we’ve shared hugs with people from (at least) 88 countries. Nine of those countries are new this year: Egypt, Jordan, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Norway, Slovakia, St. Lucia, Trinidad. We’ve also consistently shared hugs with people from 16 countries every year for the past five years: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, England, France, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Ukraine, US.
- At our last hugging session we had two boys on scooters zoom past us. The second one yelled out, “I want a hug but I don’t have time!” The woman standing beside us replied, “Eventually you’ll come to see that differently.”
- We have some repeat hugging folks, from locals who share hugs every time they see us, to those who hugged us on their visit last year, but we recently shared hugs with someone who hugged us 8 years ago!!
Okay, that’s it for now. Remember to hug someone you love today! Or a stranger. Or, preferably, both!