The unexpected suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester, England on Thursday, May 25 sent a wave of shock and terror across the country. However, one citizen bravely drove 24 survivors away from the venue to safety in his van. Taxi driver, Saf Ismail spent that night driving concert goers away from the scene of the attack, earning the gratitude and respect of the entire city, including Mayor Andy Burnham.
Ismail is not the only good samaritan of the city. Many people living in the surrounding areas have opened their homes to survivors until plans can be arranged to return them to their own houses. These volunteers advertised their offer via social media, using the hashtag, #roomformanchester.
What began as a fun-filled night for many quickly turned into a nightmare of havoc and tragedy as a bomb attack killed 22 people, seven of which were children, the youngest victim being eight years old. A total of 59 people were injured. Survivors of the bombing flew into chaos because the vast majority of the audience were minors, largely unequipped to deal with the vast scale of the emergency and disorder that ensued.
Fortunately, the tragedies of that night inspired many Manchester natives to come to the survivors’ aid. One such individual was taxi driver, Ismail. The taxi driver was deeply affected by the incident, as Ismail’s own 15-year-old daughter could’ve easily been at the concert that night.
“It was like seeing my daughter there. My daughter’s 15, and she was going to go to the concert,” Ismail explained in an interview with CBS News. “She was supposed to go, but she changed her mind a couple of months ago because she has exams coming up.“
Ismail, along with many other taxi drivers and other transportation servicemen, turned off their meters and offered free rides to safety for the Manchester victims.
“It was clear from the calls that it was a very young audience, they were literally children and didn’t have any money to pay for taxi fares,” said Sam Arshad, owner of transportation business, Street Cars Manchester. Upon learning of the bombing, Arshad and his employees of Street Cars Manchester agreed to offer free transportation to the young stranded victims of the Manchester bombing. Together, Arshad and his team provided 33 free rides.
In addition to free transportation, Manchester residents opened up their homes for survivors, announcing their offers via #roomformanchester. These volunteers provided survivors with warm beds, tea, biscuits, hot soup, and phone chargers. Other locals offered to pay for hotels for survivors. Even places of worship such as the Sikh Temples in Manchester opened their doors for survivors, offering food and accommodations for anyone in need.
While the incident at the Manchester Arena shook the country, citizens throughout the region banded together in an effort to protect the survivors and ameliorate the tragic events of the night.
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