Fine received for giving Free Hugs

calingratuit-minicalinLire en français – November 22, Jean-Talon Metro station, I was arms open wearing my green free hugs t-shirt offering free hugs to the passers-by and two STM inspectors approached me asking me if I had my permit. Surprised, I asked which permit? The inspector then opened its little “by-laws” booklet and turned pages until he figured out something could stick with what I was doing. He ended up giving me the fine for the Rule 17, Subsection II of the Section VIII of law R-036 which state the following: “17. In a metro station, after obtaining the authorisation of the Société, it is permitted to offer constatinfractioncalinfor sale or lease services or merchandise, or to exhibit or distribute such services or merchandise, subject to the other restrictions in the present By-law.”

What I understand of that, is that I can wear my t-shirt with “free hugs” written on it… but I can’t open my arms.

I know these guys have the mission to keep the peace in the subway… but when they give a ticket to those who actually are in peace, where is the world going?

The next question is: am I allowed to stand still in the subway, pretending let say that I am waiting for someone close to the convenience store, ( without having arms open) while wearing my message-t-shirt ?

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11 thoughts on “Fine received for giving Free Hugs”

  1. The offence is fake… The essential element of a service for sale or rent is not upon the charge on the Statement of Offence… I refer to R. v. Potvin (1973), 15 C.C.C.(2d), 85 (Que. C.A.).

    MONTGOMERY, J .A.:——For the reasons given by my colleague
    Mr. Justice Gagnon, I would maintain the appeal and acquit
    appellant.

    The constable may have been right in his opinion that boating
    on Beaver Lake is contrary to the public interest. It may
    be that if the City’s by-laws do not prohibit this they ought to
    The duty of the police is not, however, to legislate but to en-
    force the laws as they exist.

  2. Je trouve ça vraiment triste. La première fois que je t’ai vu, tu m’as dit que tu faisais ça pour enlever l’élément de peur qui nous habite tous. Je crois qu’on s’est croisé 3 fois. Ces 3 fois-là, tu étais à la bonne place, au bon moment. Et ces 3 fois-là, je t’ai quitté avec le plus grand des sourires qui m’a habité un bon moment. Il faut croire que ces agents ont eux aussi la peur qui les habitent et sont probablement les premiers qui auraient besoin de câlins, mais qu’à la place ils utilisent un moyen de défense en papier.
    Bref, Tommy, mon coeur est triste ce matin et je suis avec toi. -V

  3. Vraiment n’importe quoi cette contravention mon cher Tommy …. continue à donner des calins. Ça fait tellement du bien à ce qu’il reste de vrais humain sur cette terre.

  4. I read about your story in an article at MSN. So you can wear a t-shirt with the words ‘free hugs’ but opening your arms to hug someone requires a permit?! One of the commentors of the MSN article asked if you would have been charged if you were offering free smiles or hellos. They could have just given you a warning vs a fine. Keep on spreading the love!

  5. I don’t see anything wrong with giving a hug. It’s not a service. It’s a gift of love. They should never have given you a ticket. That is ridiculous! I hope you continue to spread the love. and Merry Christmas to you.

  6. Glad you got your money back. I guess the transit company didn’t want the backlash they’d get from the general public. Good for you!

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