When it comes to showing affection, Charlie Le Grand isn’t shy about wrapping his arms around somebody and squeezing.
Today on the Plaza of the Americas at 3:35 p.m., the UF sophomore will attempt to break the Guinness world record of the most hugs given by an individual in 60 seconds.
“For me, hugging is one way I can show people I care about them,” the 19-year-old said.
Le Grand is encouraging his friends and others to come out and stand in one of two lines, to receive his glorious split-second hug.
He hopes to have a turnout of more than 90 people to break the current record, established by an Indian man named Krishna Kumar.
Kumar holds the record with 79 individual hugs in a minute, Elizabeth Montoya, the assistant public relations manager for Guinness World Records North America Inc., wrote in an email.
“For this record, a genuine hug is defined as both arms wrapped round the other person in a close embrace,” Montoya said.
To make sure Le Grand is following protocol, at least one person will videotape his attempt and another will time him with a stopwatch. Le Grand said he plans to pivot left and right to hug the people in lines on either side of him, who will need to keep moving forward.
In order to reach his goal of hugging 90 people, Le Grand will have to hug one person every two-thirds of a second.
Le Grand said he was inspired after he watched Kumar break the record and thought, “Well, hey, I could do that.”
He said he’s hoping to gather more people to help him when he gets onto the plaza.
Hannah Martin, a 19-year-old UF exploratory sophomore, who met Le Grand in the Spring concert band class, will support him by giving him a hug today.
She admitted she didn’t know why Le Grand wanted to pull the stunt, but she knows him as an outgoing and vivacious guy.
“College is a good time to do weird things like breaking world records,” Martin said.
Having already received hugs from Le Grand in the past, Ashwin Ramakrishnan said he plans to bring others to help. The UF molecular biology and biochemistry sophomore met Le Grand through UF’s club swimming team.
“I personally think it would be pretty cool,” the 19-year-old said. “I definitely do think he has the motivation to do it.”
For Le Grand, it’s more about spreading joy.
“The world is a cruel place, and if you can make one person’s day, it’s an easy thing to do, so you might as well,” he said.