High fives bring smiles to Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- On street corners across America Dave Sylvester greets everyone with open arms; his infectious energy turns strangers into friends instantly.

"We all need it. We all need a reason to smile," says the Philadelphia native.

Sylvester needed a reason to smile when his close friend, Kevin Bowser, died on September 11, 2001. He found the answer within reach: a high five.

Sylvester spread joy outside our State Street Studio Thursday during his three-day stop in Chicago. He offered high fives and hugs to every passerby.

"I think it's a lot about peace and kind of everyone just being human together," remarked Roger Pimentel, who wasted no time hugging Sylvester back.

This summer, Sylvester worked his way across the continental U.S. But this is a global project too, driven by the memory of Bowser and tragedies like 9/11 that still abound.

"For the 16th anniversary, I will have hugged and high-fived people in 49 states and 36 countries around the world," he said.

Sylvester keeps count of each interaction. There have been nearly 200,000 embraces to date, with as many smiles for all to see.

You can follow "Big Dave" on his road trip here.
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