Meet The US Woman Who Cured Her Homesickness By Hugging Strangers
London: A woman, who grew up in a small community, found a novel way to cure her homesickness when she moved to North Carolina - with hugs
Melinda Schmidt pledged to hug a new person every single day for the rest of the year.
Her warm smiles make her task easier, as otherwise her advances might be mistaken for something more sinister.
As there are very few social situations where asking a total stranger for a hug would be appropriate.
In a video of her mission Schmidt explains: "No matter how many people I met I just was missing the connection that I had with family and friends back home where we hugged often," the Daily Mail reported.
The camera then follows her as she approaches unknown people and asks them for hugs.
While some are reluctant at first, wondering what her motive is, others rush straight in.
Schmidt at times even gives her huggers feedback, telling one girl: "Oh, great hug!"
She insists that she can see her influence in her friends who have up-ed their hugging and begun sharing 'hug stories' with her.
Schmidt's self-challenge of 365 days of hugs is now up but she's still adamant on continuing with it for the rest of her life.
"Hugging has become a part of my life," she said.
"I won't ever stop doing this. I won't ever stop hugging strangers and people who I've just met because it's a complete lifestyle change.
"It feels so good, I just couldn't stop now," she said.
Schmidt said that she especially loves hugging people who are having a bad day and can see the change in them after getting one of her hugs.
"All that stress kind of melts away," she said.
"In those moments I feel like a millionaire who's giving away their riches to somebody that really needs it," she added.