PITTSBURGH, P.A. (WCMH) – A Pennsylvania man who offered free ‘Dad Hugs’ at a Pride parade has gone viral.
Scott ‘Howie’ Dittman says he wore a “Free Dad Hugs” shirt to the Pittsburgh Pride parade because he believed they might be needed by people who were rejected by their parents.
He ended up giving 700 hugs in two and a half hours.
Many of the people were in tears.
A post he made on social media has gone viral and thousands of people from around the world have reached out to him.
“You know some of them are, you know there’s a lot that are thanking me a lot that had supportive parents but their partner didn’t or their friend didn’t or they themselves obviously didn’t,” Dittman said.
“I’ve heard from parents that have told me they’ve been crying for days. And that they were that parent and that now they’ve reached out to try to reconcile to ask for forgiveness and to try to re-establish with their child. I’ve heard from children of those parents of all ages that have you know received that call and said I haven’t heard from my parents in five years or 10 years and you know this morning I did and they want to have lunch.”
He said the experience has been humbling and sad.
“There is not a single person in this world that doesn’t need the foundational love and support of their parent. It should be unconditional, it should be fully trusting,” Dittman said.