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Hug-giving incident just act of kindness PDF Print E-mail

Letter to the Editor:

I am a 14-year-old boy living in Eagle River. Recently, my confirmation class and I?were victims of the sad and twisted times we live in.

Our confirmation ceremony is swiftly approaching and last week we went out into the community to do “random acts of kindness.” We split into groups and my group went to a local grocery store, holding a sign that said, “Free Hugs,” and giving out just that. Was it unusual? Yes. Was it rather awkward? Certainly. But harmful or harassing? No.

And yet, after only about 15 minutes (and about a dozen hugs), the store manager came out and told us we needed to leave. Apparently, there had been numerous complaints of us harassing customers and “disturbing the peace.”

Our teacher told the manager that we did not mean any harm and we were simply learning the meaning of service. Nevertheless, we were told to go, very forcefully. This is very disturbing. To be kicked out of a grocery store for offering hugs.

I think this is a shocking “wake-up slap” to reveal the true nature of the world we live in, and the distrust that keeps people from accepting a simple hug.

Abel Lifschutz

Eagle River

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 3:51 PM


-9 #6 2013-05-23 14:55
Pretty sad, isn't it Frank.

You know who it is too.
-15 #5 Frank Gabl 2013-05-14 23:50
This is rich.

Hating me at the expense of the elderly.

I'd ask if you folks have no shame, but that fact is self-evident.
-30 #4 Frank Gabl 2013-05-03 11:41
+27 #3 Robert Krieghoff 2013-05-01 21:54
Good for you and your group for trying!
So sad that there were some who didn't like what you were doing.

I doubt if there were, in fact, "numerous complaints". Chances are there were one or two and the manager felt compelled to act as he/she did. Unfortunately that is the direction our country is going...chances are it has already happened in your school! Years ago, grade and high schools all over the USA celebrated with Christmas concerts, that became 'Holiday' concerts, and many are now called 'Winter' concerts, because one or two people objected to the word 'Christmas'.

Don't let this experience keep you from looking for ways to make a difference. My bet is the twelve people who received hugs from your group were thrilled to tell their family and friends about a group of kids who were giving out free hugs down at the grocery store!
-29 #2 Frank Gabl 2013-05-01 11:57
Dear Abel,

Although you’re too young to understand the political reasons behind your negative experience, you’re not too young to understand the following advice since only a handful of kids your age would ever have made the effort to compose a letter to the editor in the first place.

First and foremost, you must not let this experience spoil your view of our society since the way you conduct your own life helps determine its future wellbeing. So you need to rethink and try again until you achieve the desired outcome you initially envisioned.

With that said, if I was going to give out free hugs, a nursing home or home for the elderly might produce the most desirable results since that is a place where they’ll be most appreciated, simply due to the fact that there’s a dire shortage in that type of an environment.

Cont. below:
-29 #1 Frank Gabl 2013-05-01 11:54

Just make prior arrangements with those in charge, bring along a super friendly calm dog to break the ice, and years from now you just might realize that the rejection you went through at that grocery store was one of the best things that ever could have happened in your life.

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