I think our interviewer was disappointed to learn that we don't do this on a regular basis. In fact, as enjoyable as it was, that one well-documented day was our only free hug experience together.
The truth is, I would love to do public outreach like this a lot more than I do. It is fun and fulfilling to me, and I also think it addresses a real need in our society for more authentic human connection. But as an independent volunteer activity, it's neither financially sustainable nor, I believe, as influential or satisfying as it could be.
What I would really love is for leaders in socially-minded organizations to think about how they might use something like free hugs to create a more uplifting experience for the people they serve. Balloon artists and performers get hired to entertain and delight at festivals and store openings. Why not also hire people to give out free hugs at those events, or at the mall during Christmas season, or in hospital waiting rooms?
I personally think it would be a win-win for everyone involved: great PR for the organization, a heartwarming experience for customers, and an absolute dream gig for someone like me.
If this is something that might benefit your organization, please get in touch!