Manchester Arena Bombing

Manchester, UK

A small gesture of kindness from a stranger can truly make a difference in times of fear.

In May 2017, a radical Islamist detonated a bomb as people were leaving an Ariane Grande concert in Manchester, England. Twenty-two people were killed, mainly young people who had attended the concert and parents who were waiting to pick them up, and more than 800 others were injured in the blast. Of course, we know that the emotional impact of an event like this cannot be measured in simple numbers. Through 1000 Hearts, I had made a connection with a lovely woman in Manchester, Lisa, who agreed to try and get hearts to people hurt in the attack. I packaged up a bundle of hearts and sent them off to the UK, receiving this message from Lisa a couple of weeks later:

“Well, I can finally tell you that your hearts have been safely delivered. I was at physio today and…my physiotherapist asked me what my package was…it turns out that her daughter and the daughter of one of her colleagues were at the concert. She asked if she could possibly have a heart for each of the girls who, whilst not physically injured, were having a tough time. She mentioned that her unit manager was going to a weekly case meeting where both children and adults are discussed and so she would take the hearts to pass along. There were some tears spilled and much gratitude for the kindness you have shown.”

Lady holding two pocket hearts
Sarah the physiotherapist in a Manchester hospital with hearts for young people injured in the bombing

Later, I also received a message from the mother of a young girl injured at the concert who had received a heart at the same hospital. She explained that her daughter had been full of fear and anxiety since the attack and that receiving a gesture of kindness from a stranger on the other side of the world had really made a difference and renewed a bit of faith in humankind. The power of small gestures never ceases to humble and encourage me.

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