After moving to the big city, Melinda Schmidt looked for a way to connect with people like she did with her friends and family back home, and found hugging helped. So she hugged total strangers every day, for a whole year.
It’s tough moving to the city after you’ve spent all your life in a small community where everyone was close, and young Melinda Schmidt found that out the hard way. She was feeling homesick, so she vowed to hug a new person every day, for an entire year, to help her get over her feelings. Only hugging quickly became a way of life, and although her pledged 365 days are up, she continues hugging total strangers. ’I won’t ever stop doing this. I won’t ever stop hugging strangers and people who I’ve just met because it’s a complete lifestyle change,” she says in a video shot to showcase her bizarre habit.
What Melinda is doing sounds pretty innocent, but would you agree to hug a total stranger if they came over and asked you? Not everyone would, but she’s lucky she has a lovely smile that seems to convince even the most reluctant folks to ultimately give-in to her warm embrace. As you can see in the video, the North Carolina woman just goes up to people and asks if she can give them a hug. Some are a bit suspicious of her motives at first, but they agree in the end. Usually she picks people who are having a bad day, and says she can see the difference a hug makes right away. “All that stress kind of melts away”, she says. “In those moments I feel like a millionaire who’s giving away their riches to somebody that really needs it.”
And now that she’s found a way to connect with people in the big city, Melinda is not thinking of stopping anytime soon. “Hugging has become a part of my life,” the young woman says. “It feels so good, I just couldn’t stop now.”
For more about Melinda’s serial hugging, check out her blog, My Year of Hugs.