Man's Offer of "Free Dad Hugs" at Pittsburgh Pride Parade Elicits Tears

June 14, 2019

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When Scott Dittman heard a friend was heading to Pittsburgh Pride with an organization called Free Mom Hugs, he made a spur-of-the-moment decision to join her. "I hopped on Amazon and grabbed a 'free dad hugs' T-shirt," he told Buzzfeed News. "I just thought it would put a smile on people’s faces." Turns out Dittman's hunch was right. The first to accept his offer was a young woman who, he says, "...just threw her arms around me and just thanked me over and over and over again." Another man told Dittman he'd been cut off after coming out to his parents at age 19. "He just sobbed and sobbed and thanked us," Dittman recalled. "He just melted. It was an honor to be involved in that, but it was terrible at the same time." After receiving many happy and tearful hugs throughout the day, Dittman summed up his experience in a Facebook post. "Imagine that, parents. Imagine that your child feels SO LOST FROM YOU that they sink into the arms of a complete stranger and sob endlessly just because that stranger is wearing a shirt offering hugs from a dad." Dittman said he's had over 1,500 messages from strangers reacting to his post, noting, "I’ve had so many parents reach out to me saying they’ve been crying for days."