Just to clarify: we live in the United States, are not of Mediterranean ancestry, and this is NOT a practice in my local community or our parish. I don't see others in our parish accepting hugs from this man but my sons have allowed it out of fear of offending the gentleman.
I just happened to receive a copy of "Catholic Manual of Civility" in the mail late last night and upon thumbing through it, much to my relief, there is a section in the book on banal embraces between strangers. So my question is answered.
Thanks for everyone's input.