Stephen Jones, 35, was sleeping outside the Manchester Arena when he heard the blast that claimed 22 innocent lives and injured 59 people on Monday night. Chris Parker, 33, was in the concourse area because it was a good place to beg, but the blasts from the country’s deadliest attack in more than a decade had knocked him to the ground.
Neither of the men hesitated to get up and help.
The two men are now being hailed as heroes on social media for their selflessness in the moments of mayhem. Jones has said that he swung into action because he had an “instinct” to help; he pulled nails from the faces and arms of wounded children.
“If I didn’t help, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself for walking away and leaving kids like that—just because I am homeless doesn’t mean I haven’t got a heart, or I’m not human still,” Jones told ITV News. “I’d like to think someone would come and help me if I needed the help… It was children. It was a lot of children with blood all over them and crying and screaming.”
Parker has reported that he comforted a girl who’d lost her legs by wrapping her in a T-shirt, and he cradled a dying woman in his arms.
“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,’” Parker told the news agency Press Association. He added that the woman was in her 60s and had been with her family.
A fund for Jones was listed on the JustGiving site and, at the time of writing this, has raised about $31,000 USD. Additionally, joint-chairman of English Premier League club West Ham United David Sullivan and his son offered to pay rent on a house for him for six months. The father and son were able to track Jones down via social media and are working out how to pay his rent while supplying him with new clothes and work opportunities.
An online fundraising page was also set up for Parker and, at the time of writing this, has raised more than $45,000 USD. His alleged mother has also reached out on the platform.
“This is my son and I am desperate to get in touch with him,” she wrote on the 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.”