Published: 17:45, 17 July 2012
by Nick Lillitos
Need your spirits lifting? An unusual pick-me-up is on offer from Adam Moloney.
On a Saturday you’ll find him in the heart of Maidstone offering people a cuddle.
Armed with a megaphone in his right hand and a board in the other reading “Free hugs”, passers-by are beckoned, if they wish, to get an embrace lasting just a few seconds.
“The vast majority always hug me back,” says the 28-year-old from Cranbrook.
“I always say ‘thank you’ after it is over, and they say the same to me. It clearly makes them feel better.
“When they ask me why I’m doing it, I tell them it’s because I want to brighten up their lives.
“I recognise that in order for this world to become a better place, it’s important for us to realise we’re all intrinsically inter-connected, that we’re all fundamentally the same.”
Mr Moloney, who is unemployed, says he became a hugger last September, starting in Worthing and Brighton. For the last three months he’s being doing it in Maidstone.
He was inspired after watching an internet video of a man giving free hugs in Melbourne, Australia.
Rain excepting, Mr Moloney stands at the intersection between Fremlin Walk and Week Street on a Saturday between noon and 5.30pm.
So far he estimates he’s on a “hug high” in Maidstone, starting with 54 on his first Saturday in action and now reaching 147.
Overall he reckons he’s given out over 1,000 hugs since last year. Women tend to take up the offer more than men.
“If we can show each other that we actually care, what better way than with a hug?” he added.