By the time I spotted Kenny Keen (Yeah, I’m a little suspicious of the name he gave me, too.) holding a “Free Hugs” sign, he was the one who looked like he needed a hug.
Turns out, Keen has been living on the streets of Philly for a couple of years. Usually he holds out a cup for charitable contributions. But Wednesday he thought a different approach might drum up more donations.
So he made a cardboard sign that read: “Free Hugs. Donations Accepted. Not Intolerable.” (Think Free Hugs campaign, with a twist.)
“I’m not really feeling the love,” he said, looking dejected as passersby eyed him suspiciously.
He’d been out and about with the sign since 7 a.m. By 3 p.m., he’d given a total of one hug and received exactly zero donations.
“It was an older guy,” he said. “Just a little pat, no money.”
Keen said he was going to give it until the end of the day. If things didn’t improve, he’d dump the sign and go back to the cup.
“It was worth a try,” he said.