Buoyed by the overwhelming warmth I felt hugging people at the nation’s heart in lebanon Kansas on valentines day, I returned to Kansas.
On April 3, I traveled to the city of Olathe, Kansas to have a Hug & High5 Event.
From 7AM to 10ish PM I hugged tons of people in 2 cafes and a bar where 1 Indian man was killed and 2 others were shot in a senseless act of violence and hate and did my absolute best to usher in some healing to a community that needed it.
There is a lot that I could write about the day but I think this social media post i wrote sums in up best:
"This is Alok Madasani and of the many people that I hugged in Kansas and Missouri over the last day or so - his embrace was the most special.
You see, Alok was a victim of shooting in a bar that left his best friend dead and another man injured and the reason why I came to Olathe, Kansas.
Though he would probably say otherwise; Alok is a courageous soul because he didn’t have to brave enough to meet a strange guy at a cafe that was coming there to give him a hug or strong enough to open up about what he’s been going through or even cool enough to laugh at my joke when I walked away from our table at a cafe and stopped for moment to say, “Hey, don’t go stealing my phone.”
... but he did, and it speaks volumes about him as well as the resilience of the human spirit.
When I gave him a name tag, Alok placed it on his chest and said, "from your heart and now over mine. Thanks Dave."
No, thank you Alok, of all the people I engaged; yours was the hug, high5 and smile I came to feel.
I am here for you brother."
In addition to the citizens of Olathe, Kansas, I would like to thank the owners and staff of The Kansas Coffee Cafe and Austins Bar and Grill- you guys made all the difference.