Homeless men praised for helping kids in Manchester attack

Online efforts lead to fundraising and potential new homes

A pair of homeless men are now being treated like heroes for the help they gave during the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena. Chris Parker was panhandling when the bomb went off, knocking him to the ground. When he got up, he saw a girl who had lost her legs and wrapped her up in a T-shirt. Parker also cradled a dying woman in his arms. Stephen Jones, meanwhile, was sleeping outside of the arena when the attack happened. Once he noticed people were stumbling out of the venue bloodied and screaming, he rushed in and was seen pulling nails out of children’s arms and faces.

Jones was asked about why he did what he did, and he cited instinct. “Just because I am homeless doesn’t mean I haven’t got a heart, or I’m not human still. I’d like to think someone would come and help me if I needed the help,” Jones said. As for Parker, he talked about how shocked he was that such a thing would happen at a “kids’ concert”. He recalled the atmosphere of the immediate aftermath: “It’s the screams I can’t get over, and the smell… I don’t like to say it, but it smelled like burning flesh.”

Online fundraisers have since been set up for the homeless men; the one set up for Parker had already raised almost $40,000 by Wednesday afternoon. Parker’s estranged mother was also able to reach out thanks to Parker’s newfound fame, posting on the fundraising page, “This is my son and I am desperate to get in touch with him… I had no idea he was homeless. I am very proud of him, and I think he might need me right now.” In addition to the fundraiser, West Ham co-owner David Sullivan publicly committed to giving Parker six months of free accommodation to “help him on his way”.

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