Since Pulse attack, too many hugs to count

- When some people pass you on the street, they don't even make eye contact. You pass Brian Alvear and he'll probably stop you and ask if you want a hug.

"Everyone feels better after a hug," he told FOX 13.

Alvear started a hugging campaign called "Hugs not Hate" after his sister Amanda and her friend Mercedes Flores, both from Haines City, were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting last June, along with 47 other victims.

"I was always a hugger, but it was never with a purpose," he said. "Now there is a purpose, there's a story behind it."

The first two weeks after the shooting, Alvear hugged nearly 2,000 people, many of them at his sister's funeral.  Since then, he has hugged so many people he has lost count.

"I don't know where I'm at," Alvear said. "I'm at a lot of hugs."

Through social media, other people around the world have embraced his idea of hugging complete strangers.

"I can take a break and I know someone is giving someone a hug for ‘Hugs not Hate,’ and that is amazing."

This weekend, Alvear will be able to really up his numbers. He will be attending the event to remember the one-year anniversary of the shooting, called "Remembering the Angels."

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Since Pulse attack, too many hugs to count
  • High school senior running for Polk Co. School Board seat
  • Woman who turned in suspected Seminole Heights killer thanked by city
  • Ribbon cutting Thursday for Crystal Lagoon in Wesley Chapel
  • ICE partnerships with 17 FL sheriffs to hold illegal immigrants
  • Strawberry farmers brace for berry-killing cold
  • ICE to deport father, Plant City resident after 20 years in Florida
  • Holiday woman died due to faulty airbag, report says
  • Citrus shelter closed due to bacteria that could spread to humans
  • Police investigate home invasion robbery in Plant City