A homeless man rushed to the arena to help the injured in the Manchester bomb blast says ‘I’m not a hero, just a person.’
Stephen Jones pulled out nails from a little girl’s face after Salman Abedi killed 22 people and injured 119 after detonating a nail bomb after an Ariana Grande concert.
Mr Jones, was sleeping nearby, remembered watching in horror as children covered in blood began pouring out of the arena, leaving behind ‘lifeless’ bodies surrounded by ‘hysterical’ mothers.
Mr Jones said: ‘People are saying I’m a hero, but I’m not – I’m just a person. There were people in suits who are meant to be the pillars of society who were walking over dead children.
‘Us homeless guys, we get slagged off all the time over this, that and the other. But we were the first ones in there to help.
West Ham’s owner and his son vowed to pay for Mr Jones’s six months’ rent in order to thank him for helping the victims.
Dave Jnr tweeted: ‘Me and dad want to rent the homeless man in Manchester a house for 6 months to help him get on his feet.
‘If anyone can help us get in touch much much appreciated. Such a selfless act needs rewarding. Please tag anyone who can help us.’
After a few hours, they were able to successfully track Mr Jones down.
Dave Jnr wrote: ‘WE HAVE FOUND STEVE! Shows the power for good social media has. Thank you to all those involved, you have helped change a man’s life.’
Mr Jones said: ‘I’m overwhelmed by the support and help, and that people have been setting up money for me. It’s incredible.
‘I’ve just been on Skype to the West Ham guy, he was in his Bentley in London.
‘We’ve been having a chat and stuff. He said that he would pay me for six months on a place here, if I find a private landlord.
‘Next season when United play West Ham or City he’s going to have me as his guest of honour in his box or fly me down to London to watch it there.
‘I want to stay here in Manchester. I’ve had lot of calls from people who have set pages up for me get me own place. I’ve got no family but my nana. She had a male friend who I want to stay near and with.
‘This is why we love Manchester the support that everyone gives. It’s incredible.’
Later he spoke to ITV’s This Morning. He said: ‘I was sleeping outside the Arena that night, and I heard a first bang which I thought was a firecracker, and then heard a big explosion… and felt the shockwave of the explosion.
‘Well me and my friend, we got up and ran at first, then we realised we had to go back and help people. We could see kids with blood on them. The mums were more frantic than the kids were.’
He added: ‘People do look at homeless people and tarnish all with the same brush and think that we haven’t got a heart. I saw people stepping over children that night, stepping over them to get away and leaving children, and to me that wasn’t the right thing to be done.’
When asked about recent job offers and the help he is now receiving from the public after his good deed, Stephen said: ‘While I’ve been waiting here, I’ve had people stop to shake my hand… and people asking me for selfies! So compared to being sat there and no one takes any notice of you, it’s weird, it’s different… and yes, I’m meeting somebody today for a restaurant interview.’
Before adding, ‘I’m really pleased… my love goes out to them all [that have put together Just Giving pages] thank you very much and for all the kind comments, I did what anyone else would’ve done I suppose.’
Chris Parker, another homeless man, who was begging in the stadium foyer when he heard the explosion said that he saw a young girl, separated from her parents and lost both legs in the blast.
Mr Parker’s separated mother came forward to be willing to get reunited with her hero son.
Jessica, 57, lost touch with Chris a few years ago and had no idea he was sleeping rough on the streets of Manchester. She is now pleading for help to get back in touch with her son and is planning to travel to Manchester to see him.
She told the M.E.N: ‘Chris sporadically gets in touch, but I haven’t heard from him for a while. When I saw the story about what he had done and how brave he had been, I was floored. I was so proud.
‘I thought ‘that’s my boy’. I just want to talk to him – and I want to meet up with him. I was totally shocked when I saw the stories about Chris, but I knew it was something he’d do.
‘He’s fallen on hard times, but he has a heart of gold. I’m so proud of how brave he was trying to help people.’
Mr Parker, who has slept rough in the city for about a year, said he also tended to a woman aged in her 60s who was badly hurt from the bombing with serious leg and head injuries.
He said: ‘She passed away in my arms. She was in her 60s and said she had been with her family. I haven’t stopped crying. The most shocking part of it is that it was a kids’ concert.