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Free Dad Hugs: Butler County Man Gives Out Hugs At Pittsburgh Unity Parade

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Did you hug your child on Father's Day?

Many gay, lesbian or transgender people don't get hugs from their parents; in fact, sometimes their families abandon them and cut them out of their lives.

A man from Karns City decided to do something about that during last week's Pride Parade.

Scott Dittman gave out "Dad Hugs."

The reaction was highly emotional and his story is now being told all across the country.

When Dittman heard about a woman who gave out "Mom Hugs," he thought free Dad Hugs are just as important.

"I went on Amazon Prime and ordered a shirt and went down on Sunday just to put a smile on people's faces," he said.

It turns out, though, his Dad Hugs to the LGBTQ community brought much more than just smiles.

"You'd see people that were completely happy in the middle of this festival, and then they'd see that "Free Dad Hugs" shirt and it was like a switch was flipped," he explained. "They'd just instantly, some of them, would just buckle."

A photo of Dittman hugging a man who hadn't been hugged by his own father in decades has now gone viral. It's been seen on televisions nationwide.

"When his parents found when he was 19, they kicked him out and hadn't spoken to him since," Dittman said. "That was 30 years ago. As a parent, I couldn't get my head around that."

It turns out, giving hugs to complete strangers brings out deep emotions.

"I was received very well... to put it mildly," he said.

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