Amidst the horror and cruelty of Monday night’s Manchester attack, we still continue to be reminded that there is so much good in the world; that there are so many ordinary people – everyday heroes – who are willing to step up and help total strangers in any way they can.
Taxi drivers worked through the night for free, hundreds of people offered up their beds and sofas to concert-goers who had nowhere to take refuge, others brought food and tea to stranded families and tired policemen.
One of the most incredible stories of the day was the sheer bravery and kindness of Chris Parker – a 33-year-old man who has been living rough on the streets of Manchester for around a year.
He had been taking shelter in the foyer of the Manchester Arena when the bomb went off, and while he was initially knocked to the floor by the force of the explosion, he raced back inside to help victims.
He told Associated Press: “Everyone was piling out, all happy and everything else. As people were coming out of the glass doors I heard a bang and within a split second I saw a white flash, then smoke and then I heard screaming.
“It knocked me to the floor and then I got up and instead of running away my gut instinct was to run back and try and help.
“There was people lying on the floor everywhere.
“I 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 added that he thought the girl’s mother had died from her injuries.
He then found a woman who he believed to be in her 60s with serious leg and head injuries. “She passed away in my arms,” he said. “She was in her 60s and she had been with her family. I haven’t stopped crying. The most shocking part of it is that it was a kids’ concert.”
Inspired by Chris’ selflessness, a man named Michael Johns set up a GoFundMe page in order to help him, with the aim of raising £1,000. Less 19 hours later, the total is at £22,786, and more than 2,000 people have donated.
“Homelessness in this country is a widespread tragedy but it is absolutely unacceptable that someone who can react so heroically in such a terrifying situation should be on the streets,” wrote Johns on the page.
“Hopefully this campaign will go some way to helping Chris off the streets and also show our gratitude for his actions.”
The page has been flooded with well-wishes for Chris, including one message from a Jessica Parker – Chris’ mother.
She wrote: “Hi this is my son and I am desperate to get in touch with him, 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 xx”
And as these messages show, strangers have been pitching in to try and help reunite Jessica and her son – a heartwarming story which has been born out of terror and sadness.
Meanwhile, a separate crowdfunding page which was set up by the Manchester Evening News for the victims of the attack and their families has already raised an incredible £750,000.
More than 30,000 people have made donations in less than 24 hours.
If you would like to donate to help Chris Parker, you can do so here.
And to donate to the victims and their families, you can click here.