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Man offers hugs to help heal in Las Vegas

Posted at 11:18 PM, Nov 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-25 02:18:09-05

“Hug or high five?”

That is the question Dave Sylvester spent Friday asking all over Las Vegas.

"Wherever you are on the emotional spectrum I want to make you better," Sylvester said.

The personal trainer made a special trip to town from Philadelphia to spread goodwill in the wake of the 1 October shooting.

It’s something Sylvester has done since 2001 when he lost a friend in the 9/11 attacks.

"I know the first holiday after a tragedy can be the worst.  So I just wanted to come here and spread some love," Sylvester said.
He spent time before heading out calling businesses to find people willing to let him come in and offer up his big smile and even bigger hugs.
The surprised customers in many cases said the hugs and high fives were greatly appreciated.
"It is refreshing to have someone with that energy enter your space, I appreciate it," Tammy Evans said. "When you looked in his face and watched him come in it was just honest and real."
Sylvester is no stranger to approaching strangers across the county and world, rattling off a laundry lists of locations he has taken his message of positivity.

"I've hugged and high fived people, 200,000 people now in 49 states, and 36 countries," Sylvester said.
Those travels have included bike tours of Africa and Asia.
No matter where he goes, Sylvester says the most common question he gets is, ‘What do you want or what are you selling.’
He says people are shocked when they hear the answer.
"I want to see people smile.  I want to see people happier," Sylvester said.
Throughout his travels, Sylvester is taking photos with some of the people he is hugging and high fiving, posting them to his social media accounts where he goes by @TheHumanHigh5.
Sylvester said he is planning to visit Sutherland Springs, Texas next month to help spread cheer in the town ahead of Christmas.