On a cold winter day, the offer of a free hug from a stranger is often all it takes to warm the heart.
Tanya Neumeyer, her brother, Ian, and a few friends carrying large signs saying “Free Hugs,” startled scores of people at the corner of Yonge and Dundas streets yesterday and left more than a few feeling a little better about the world.
“It makes your day. More people should be hugging,” said Louise Collins, 54, of Scarborough, who was shopping downtown with her cousin, Nancy Collins, 54, of Ajax.
“It was a nice thing. You smile and it makes your heart happy,” agreed Lily Nacional, 49.
Neumeyer, 26, said she got the inspiration from a YouTube video and a group called We Are What We Do.
This is the third year in a row Neumeyer has publicly offered embraces.
“It’s kind of a nice thing. (February) is our shortest month, but the longest part of the winter. Some people will walk by smiling and other people will come running because they love the hugs. You get different reactions,” she said.