Homeless Heroism

From the NY Times

Chris Parker

LONDON — For Chris Parker, the arena’s entrance area might have seemed like a good place to ask people for money. Stephen Jones had found a spot nearby to sleep.

Now, the two men, both homeless, are being praised as heroes for helping victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.

As Manchester and the rest of Britain were trying to come to terms with the country’s deadliest terrorist attack in more than a decade, the two men are being hailed on social media for their selflessness and courage.

Mr. Parker, 33, was panhandling when the bomb exploded, according to local news reports. The force of the blast knocked him to the floor, but he was unfazed.

Rather than running for safety, he went to the aid of victims, comforting a girl who had lost her legs, wrapping her in a T-shirt, and cradling a dying woman in his arms.

Mr. Jones, 35, says he pulled nails out of children’s arms and faces.

“Just because I am homeless doesn’t mean I haven’t got a heart, or I’m not human still,” he told ITV News. “I’d like to think someone would come and help me if I needed the help,” he said, adding that he had been overcome by an “instinct” to pitch in.

“It was children,” he continued. “It was a lot of children with blood all over them and crying and screaming.”

Mr. Parker told the news agency Press Association that amid the smoke and the shrieks after the explosion, he saw a little girl. “I wrapped her in one of the merchandise T-shirts, and I said, ‘Where is your mum and daddy?’ She said, ‘My dad is at work, my mum is up there,’” he was quoted as saying.

He also said he had tried to help an older woman who had head and leg injuries, but that she died in his arms.

“She was in her 60s, and she had been with her family. I haven’t stopped crying,” he told the Press Association. “The most shocking part of it is that it was a kids’ concert.”

After his actions became known, an online fund-raising page was set up for Mr. Parker. By early afternoon on Wednesday it had raised 30,000 pounds, or almost $40,000.

Another fund, for Mr. Jones, was listed on the JustGiving site.

The tragedy may have also helped to heal a family rift. After hearing about what Mr. Parker had done, his mother reached out.

“This is my son and I am desperate to get in touch with him,” she wrote on the fund-raising page. “We have been estranged for a very long time, and I had no idea he was homeless. I am very proud of him, and I think he might need me right now.”

Correction: May 24, 2017
An earlier version of this article omitted the name of Stephen Jones, who assisted victims of the attack, and by so doing mis-attributed several quotations. It was Mr. Jones, not Mr. Parker, who talked about being overcome by an instinct to help.

By Dan Bilefsky

Advertisements

About Drakakis

Street Poet scribbling to your tired, your poor, your huddled masses; the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, the homeless, tempest-tost ...
This entry was posted in Homeless, Public Awareness, Violence. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s