As a peace activist and founder of the Free Hugs Project, Nwadike has traveled the country sharing his journey from homelessness to a living symbol of peace.
And seeing Nwadike turn angry protesters into peaceful huggers felt like the moment that things could be different for John.
With friend and community activist Carla Christopher, they made signs at what used to be New Grounds Roasting Company on West Market Street and stood on the sidewalk to deliver their own hugs to people in York.
Within an hour, they gave out more than 70 hugs. The late afternoon thunderstorm that pummeled them didn’t stop them either – and people jumped out of their cars to exchange a warm embrace.
Soaking wet, John was overcome with a sense of community, compassion, peace and understanding.
“I thought doing this would make me feel better,” John says. “But it isn’t really about me anymore. The community needs this more than I do.”