by Sheeka Sanahori, USA Today: July 21, 2017
JACKSON, Miss. — His sign says, “Hi my name is Big Dave.” He scours coffee shops, beaches, and anywhere else there will likely be a crowd. He’s looking for three things: A hug, a high five, or small talk.
This is Dave Sylvester’s mission in America: to spread positivity through simple interactions.
“I’m just here to make people smile,” Sylvester said. “I think if we can at least have a base of communication via a smile and a hug and high 5 then we can communicate on other issues, and maybe make a difference in the world.”
Sylvester began spreading love worldwide after his friend died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. He biked across three continents, volunteering at charities along the way.
Now he’s driving across the United States. “Big Dave” started in Delaware, then drove south, making stops in North Carolina, Georgia, and more. He’s now heading west through Texas.
He keeps track of every person he hugs and high fives with a counter. He’s met interacted with thousands of people.
When Dave Sylvester was getting ready to leave his hotel in Jackson, Mississippi to head to New Orleans, he heard that an airplane crashed in Leflore County, Mississippi. He knew a detour was in order.
“I figured why go hug a bunch of people that probably are drunk, and come here and embrace some people that probably really really need it.”
Going to the scene of a plane crash was one of the more somber stops on “Big Dave’s” trek across America. But he’s willing to make an impact on anyone, no matter what they may be going through.