He was there, reportedly, because it was a good place to beg.
As Manchester and the rest of Britain were coming to terms with the country’s deadliest terrorist attack in more than a decade, Chris Parker, a 33-year-old who has been homeless for about a year, was being hailed on social media for his selflessness and courage.
Rather than running for safety after the bombing, Mr. Parker went to the aid of victims. He pulled nails out of children’s arms and from the face of a small girl. He comforted another girl who had lost her legs, wrapping her in a T-shirt. He cradled a dying woman in his arms.
Mr. Parker had been panhandling in the concourse area outside Manchester Arena when the bomb exploded, according to local news reports. The force of the blast knocked him to the floor, but he was unfazed.
“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 he had heard an explosion as concertgoers were leaving the venue, and that he had been knocked down by it. Amid smoke and shrieks, he said, 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. She died in his arms, he said.
“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 has raised 30,000 pounds, or almost $40,000.
And the tragedy may have helped to heal a family rift. After hearing about what her son had done, Mr. Parker’s 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.”
Date Posted: Wednesday, May 24th, 2017 , Total Page Views: 937
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