Hugs are free… to two meters of distance

Câlins gratuits... à deux mètres de distance

MONTREAL – people are still offering “hugs for free” to strangers at the exit of the metro stations, but due to the pandemic, they are in a symbolic way, to two meters of distance. These “virtual hug” would be more popular than the usual hugs distributed by the volunteers.

Thirty câlineurs lovers of the brigade of happiness around now for five years a little everywhere in Quebec to meet the passers-by, in the framework of a movement is not organized present everywhere in the world. They stand in busy areas with a sign on which it is written “hug free”, to offer comfort to passers-by.

It is obviously rather difficult to combine cuddling and social distancing, but the Montrealers Jean-Pierre Moisan and Elizabeth Lecomte have decided to find alternatives.

They are trying to put a smile on the lips of pedestrians, cyclists, motorists – and even some animals – by sending the hand, a message, and sometimes a compliment, which represents for them a form of “cuddly virtual”.

The newspaper “24 hours” is posted on Thursday afternoon to observe their activities at the exit of the subway station Laurier, in the borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal, and see the response of passers-by.

“Sending you love”, repeated and would chant with her voice carrying Mr. Moisan, who has been practicing the art of the hug since he has retired.

Positive response

In the vast majority of cases, the passers-by responded to the messages of the two acolytes.

“Usually, only 30 % or 40 % of passers-by are giving us a hug in return. In this case, almost all people will at least give a reaction. It does not fit into the bubble of people and it is good for people, when they are preoccupied with their problems,” he mentioned.

Some passers-by even go so far as to inspire them with new techniques in responding with hearts made with hands.

“We received the love sent by a [slingshot] imaginary, and another with a spray bottle,” he said, happy to be back in contact with the passers-by.

In more rare cases, however, this is not impossible to receive a negative response.

“A man has made me the finger very subtle the other day, by back in his back”, he stressed, obviously not affected by this gesture a negative.

It’s good for you

Rui da Cunha, a passer-by who has stopped to chat with Mr. Moisan and Ms. Lecomte, was very glad to have crossed on his way. They discussed a good ten minutes.

“It is an exchange with the heart. It’s good, because I think the world has more fear of the other, especially with what is happening at the moment with the pandemic,” he replied.

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