On Monday night in Manchester, England a vicious attack by terrorists occurred killing 22 and injuring at least 119 others. Police believe Salman Abedi worked with a network of suspects including 8 men who have been arrested. When the bomb attack occurred many of those in attendance of the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena were seen running away from the disaster.
Of course there were the police, fire and emergency personnel who arrived to provide assistance to victims and others. However, there were two others who were also present and risked their lives. Rather than running away from the disaster, when the explosion occurred, they rushed in to support victims of the attack. The two men were probably the last many would have expected to step up….they were homeless.
Stephen Jones, 35, and Chris Parker, 33, were in the area of the arena where Ariana Grande was holding a concert Monday night. The two men are homeless and were there to sleep and to ask for money.
Parker told reporters he saw a “flash of light” just before the bomb went off. He and Jones chose not to flee the scene and instead went to help the many victims, and Parker even ended up holding one woman as she died.
The suicide bombing killed 22 people and injured 59. Many others are still missing, and the named victims so far include an 8-year-old girl whose teacher described her as “loved by everyone.”
In an interview with ITV, Jones described how he helped hold a woman’s legs up until ambulance workers came so that she didn’t bleed out. “It was just instinct to go and help,” he said.
He described seeing children bleeding and helping to pull nails out of their arms, and he confessed something that many do not realize. “Just because I’m homeless, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t got a heart, and I’m not human still,” Jones explained.
The interview with Jones and his selfless acts have touched people. Commenters have also noted the beautiful irony in his position and actions.
“That got this grown man crying,” one man wrote on Facebook. “It’s often those with the least to give that give the most.”
The positive reaction has been so strong that several fundraising pages have been started to help both Jones and Parker. People want to see them get the support they need after they unflinchingly offered aid to others without thinking twice.
Originally the goal was to raise around $400, but donations have poured in and the current contributions stand close to over $2800. Nothing can repay someone for such a selfless act of heroism, but good can beget good.
This horrific experience is not something people will ever get over. But if there is any bit of light to any tragedy, it is in the people who offer their love and care to help fellow human beings — regardless of their own circumstances — and, in this instance, the opportunity to remember our shared humanity with people many often dismiss.
“It had to be done,” Jones said. “If I didn’t help, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself for walking away and leaving kids like that.”
Jones’ and Parker’s actions are reminders of the words of Fred Rogers. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers said, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
Several crowdfunders have already been set up to help out Jones, who has been homeless for more than a year, and fellow rough sleeper Chris Parker, who also helped bombing victims on Monday night.
Stephen Jones who helped victims of the Manchester attack, pulling nails from the faces and arms of children injured in the bombing, has been rewarded with six months’ free rent by a UK billionaire.
West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan and his son used social media to help track down Stephen Jones, 35, who was asleep outside Manchester Arena when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a device as people were leaving an Ariana Grande concert on Monday night.
Mr. Sullivan, who has assets valued at £1 billion ($A1.7 billion), told BBC Radio 5 Live he wanted to help Mr. Jones by making him a “life-changing” offer that would help him “get back on his feet”.
“It looks like he needs some help, so we are desperate to find who he is and give him six months free accommodation and a little bit of money to help him on his way,” Mr. Sullivan said.
As Dave Sullivan posted on Twitter:
If anyone can help us get in touch much much appreciated. Such a self less act needs rewarding. Please tag anyone who can help us 2/2
With the help of thousands of re-tweets, and the assistance of homeless charity The Booth Centre, they tracked down Mr. Jones.
WE HAVE FOUND STEVE ! Shows the power for good social media has. Thank you to all those involved, you have helped change a man’s life
Mr. Sullivan Jnr said he and his father were touched by Parker’s words and actions.
“I think the man is a hero. What got to me was how he just wanted to help anyone that he could. So I thought, ‘I can help you’,” he told HuffPost UK.
“This is a dark time and what he did provides a little bit of light. What we can do is give him a home, food and clothing until he gets back onto his feet.”
The men have spoken over FaceTime, and the Sullivans want to take Mr. Jones to a football match.
The Hammers’ co-owner added,
“This was a terrible incident, but the response of the people of Manchester has been one of bravery, togetherness and resilience – the hallmarks of what makes Britain such a fantastic place.”
Another Manchester resident has offered to get Mr. Jones a job at his company.
As Mr. Rogers spoke, “To this day, especially in times of a disaster, I remember my mothers words, and I am always comforted, by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
Amen. During this dark time in Manchester, England it’s nice to see there is a little bit of light. People caring for others less fortunate in a time of need. God Bless the families of those victims of this horrific terrorist attack in Manchester, England.