When terror struck outside Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert Monday night, a homeless man who was there to panhandle sprung into action, quickly coming to the aid of dozens of injured people.
The man, Chris Parker, is now being hailed a hero for his selfless response — and nearly $40,000 has been donated online to help the 33-year-old get off the streets.
According to the New York Times, Parker ran towards the blast, despite the risk to his own life. As chaos reigned around him, Parker kept his cool, the paper reports, removing nails from the arms and faces of wounded children, and helping to elevate the legs of a bleeding woman to stop her blood loss.
Parker even comforted a young Ariana Grande fan who lost her legs in the suicide bombing, and cradled a woman in his arms as she was dying, reports The Times.
Parker had been panhandling outside the arena when the bomb was detonated. The force from the explosion knocked him to the floor.
“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.”
PEOPLE was unable to reach Parker, who told reporters he didn’t think twice about assisting the wounded, and said “instinct” took over.
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“It was children,” he said. “It was a lot of children with blood all over them and crying and screaming.”
He told reporters he used a T-shirt from the concert to wrap up the legs of a child who had been injured by the bomb, according to The Guardian.
Parker said he hasn’t “stopped crying” since Monday evening, according to The Guardian.
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Fundraising Campaign to Help Parker
Parker’s heroism is being lauded the world over, and thousands of people inspired by his swift actions have visited a GoFundMe campaign aimed at helping him better his current situation.
“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.”
The deadly explosion — which killed 22 and injured 119 — occurred around 10:33 p.m. local time near the ticket office outside Manchester Arena, Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said. Investigators suspect the attack was carried out by Salman Abedi, 22, who detonated an improvised explosive device and died at the scene, Hopkins said.
According to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant communication, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Names of the fatal victims continue to become public, though many still have not been publicly identified.