Nadine Weis Credits: Nadine Weis
What inspired you to start making the hug cards?
Last March my eight-year-old son underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor. This was his second surgery. He requested that everyone hug each other on the day of his surgery and thus release positivity and support into the air that would hopefully reach me and him. This hug started circulating and went global really quickly. The day of his surgery there were an abundance of hugs being shared and I am convinced that all of that magical strength helped my son recuperate at the speed he did.
Then, I was walking one day and ran into a dear friend of mine, who gave me a hug. I didn't know it at the time, but her hug was exactly what I needed to help me get through the day. I went home that night and thought of how I could carry around a hug with me at all times and benefit from it any time I needed, and I came up with these hug cards.
Who are the hug cards meant for?
The cards are meant for anyone who is in need of a hug. That is pretty much anyone and everyone! When my son's hug day was created, I was overwhelmed with the power that a simple hug has. A hug can cure, relax, and bring safety, support and love. I have been walking around the city with a bag of cards and handing them out to anyone I see who looks like they are in need of a reminder they are not alone.
What kind of success have you had?
The success has been magical. I would love to share a couple of stories that have truly impacted me.
I was walking to the subway one day and there was a man holding a sign that read "Anything will be helpful, just please help." I couldn't walk by that sign and not do anything. So I approached the man and handed him a card. He was hesitant at first, but I encouraged him to read it and when he did, he was overtaken with emotion. He started sobbing. "It has been years since someone hugged me." I told him that he is supported and he can keep this hug and use it to feel love whenever he needs it.
Another time I overheard two young women on the subway. One was telling her friend she was ready to give up on life and was too depressed to continue. She had lost all hope. I debated whether I should say something, but this situation was too close to my heart. So, one stop before I was getting off, I leaned in and told the girl I knew exactly how it feels to be in darkness and despair, but I also know the feeling of having support and people who loved me and helped me through my darkest moments. I handed her a hug card and told her to use it as proof that she is supported, even by strangers, and that she should not give up on herself. She began to cry and thanked me for my kindness. She told me that I had changed her day and that she would keep this hug with her to remind her of this moment and to try her best to move forward.
How can people get their own hug cards?
I have a Facebook page, Everyone Benefits. I would invite people to visit the page and read about the hug card stories. They can also order their own hug cards there. The hug cards can be personalized by printing your name or company logo on them. The majority of the proceeds will be donated back into the community.
What do you hope will come of this initiative?
My intention is that people will start to pause for a minute in their busy days and realize how important it is to feel—how necessary it is to hug, to support one another and hopefully release some of the anxieties we face every day. A simple hug is very powerful. It can change our entire day in just a moment.
Want to help spread kindness in your neighbourhood? Learn how to resolve to spread kindness, with advice from Craig and Marc Kielburger.