During times of crisis, many people look to the words of Mr. Rogers to find a little comfort: “Look for the helpers.” Following the devastating terrorist attacks at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, two homeless men were those such helpers. Chris Parker and Stephen Jones were outside of the arena during the concert, and after the blast took place, both men sprung into action to help as many children as possible. According to a report from The New York Times, Parker “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.” Stephens recalled pulling nails out of the arms and faces of children.
“Just because I am homeless doesn’t mean I haven’t got a heart, or I’m not human still,” Parker 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 helped comfort children who were panicked looking for their parents, telling the Press Association “The most shocking part of it is that it was a kids’ concert.”
Following the heroism of these two men, the grateful public set up two different crowdfunding accounts, which have raised over £40,000 a piece for each of the men. West Ham United Football Club co-chairman David Sullivan and his son, Dave Jr., were also deeply moved by Jones’s story and have set him up in an apartment, covering six months of rent, food, and clothing. They are also looking to find him a job in their company.
“I just hope he won’t be homeless anymore,” Dave Jr. told CBS News. “He’s a lovely guy, and he’s shown he’s a very courageous man. He deserves rewarding. Everyone deserves a second chance. I don’t know his story or what happened to him, but I hope he gets his life back together.”
Additionally, Parker’s estranged mother has also reached out via the crowdfunding sites and is looking for any information about her son, saying:
“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.”
In the midst of all of the pain, it’s a small ray of sunshine to have a happy ending for these two men.