Lee Shapiro is a retired judge. He realised that love is the greatest power. As a result, Lee became a hugger and began offering everybody a hug. His colleagues dubbed him “the hugging judge”. Lee created what he calls his Hugger Kit. On the outside, it reads “A heart for a hug”. The inside contains little red embroidered hearts with stickums on the back. Lee will carry his Hugger Kit, go around to people and offer them a little red heart in exchange for a hug. Lee has become famous for this that he is often invited to conferences and conventions, where he shares his message of unconditional love.
One day, Lee’s friend Nancy Johnson showed up on his doorstep. Nancy is a professional clown and she was wearing her clown costume and makeup. “Lee, grab your Hugger Kit and let’s go out to the home for the disabled.” When they arrived, they started giving out balloon hats, hearts and hugs to the patients. Lee was uncomfortable. He had never hugged people who were terminally ill, severely retarded or quadriplegic. It was definitely a stretch. But after a while, it became easier with Nancy and Lee acquiring an entourage of doctors, nurses and orderlies who followed them from ward to ward.
After several hours, they entered the last ward. There were worst cases Lee had seen in his life. The feeling is so grim that it took his heart away. But out of their commitment to share their love and to make a difference, Nancy and Lee started working their way around the room. Finally, Lee came to the last patient, Leonard. Leonard was wearing a big white bib which he was drooling on. Lee looked at Leonard dribbling onto his bib and said, “Let’s go Nancy. There’s no way we can get through this patient.” Nancy replied, “C’mon, Lee. He’s a fellow human being, too, isn’t he?” Then she placed a funny balloon hat on Leonard’s head. Lee took one of his little red hearts and placed it on Leonard’s bib. He took a deep breath, leaned down and gave Leonard a hug.
All of a sudden, Leonard began to squeal, “Eeeeeehh! Eeeeeehh!” Some of the other patients in the room began to clang things together. Lee turned to the medical staff for explanation only to find they were crying. Lee asked the head nurse, “What’s going on?”
The nurse said, “This is the first time in 23 years we’ve seen Leonard smile.”