Wearing a t-shirt that read “Free Dad Hugs,” Scott tagged his friend who is part of an organization called Free Mom Hugs. Little did he know that his visit would provide LGBTQI+ participants with much-needed support and validation from their surrogate father. In fact, he says, the experience changed his life:

“You think you’re going to put a smile on a few people’s faces and come out to know or understand their struggles,” Scott told CBS News. “It was life changing, it really was.”

Scott further wrote about his experiences on a Facebook post that has since gone viral with over 320,000 reactions.

In it, he wrote about the strangers he met and the stories they shared: Nineteen-year-old was fired when his parents found out, and they haven’t spoken to him since . Another breast crossed the street just to meet Scott, and by the time she arrived, tears were welling up in her eyes. Scott wrote of her as his daughter:

He wrote: “She stood before me and looked at me with a look of sadness and helplessness that I will never forget. She hugged me with all she had. I hugged her to her back. She held on for so long, melted into my face, and thanked me endlessly.”

It’s the sweetest thing I’ve seen in a while. #Howiedittman #freedadhugs #pride #pride_month

— ɴʏʏ: (79-53) (@yankeesgoddess) June 13, 2019
In a particularly poignant excerpt from his post, Scott reflects on what was beneath the surface of the embrace. “Imagine your child feeling so lost from you that they drown in the arms of a complete stranger,” he wrote. “Try to imagine how deep those cuts must be.”

Scott told the press that since the posting he had received more than 1,500 messages that varied in tone but mainly praised his actions. However, the stream included a very heartwarming message from someone who wrote to say that “the day they see the post will be their last day on earth.” Scott thinks the words mean a lot and actually prevented the tragedy.

Scott is no stranger to volunteering or helping others. He founded Helping Butler County, a local group that connects volunteers with people in need. He’s clearly a good human being, and he told CBS, “If we can be good human beings and do a good job as human beings,” Dittmann said. “It doesn’t matter if someone considers themselves gay or bisexual.”

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