Paula Robinson is being called the “Angel of Manchester” after she led children to safety following an explosion at Manchester Arena on Monday night. At approximately 10:30 p.m. local time, a bomb went off inside the foyer area of the arena, where thousands of people, mostly children and teenagers, had just enjoyed an Ariana Grande concert. After hearing the loud explosion, people began running out of the building, many screaming and in a panic.
Robinson, a 48-year-old bystander, was nearby at Manchester Victoria railway station with her husband, when she jumped into action, gathering a group of about 50 children, and running with them to a nearby hotel, according to Express UK. Once they were all safe, Robinson posted a message on social media, leaving her phone number for parents to call her.
“We ran out. It was literally seconds after the explosion. I got the teens to run with me. Parents were frantic running about trying to get to their children. There were lots and lots of children at Holiday Inn,” Robinson said.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Robinson Was No Longer With the Children as of Tuesday Morning
According to the Telegraph, Robinson encouraged families to call the authorities if their children were still missing. She explained that she was no longer with the children but she did not go into detail about where the children went. It is unclear if she was able to reunite any of the children with their families.
There are still 15 people who have been missing since the concert. Families have been posting on social media, sharing photographs of their loved ones, and trying to get any information they can on the whereabouts of their family members.
The official helpline number is 0161 856 9400.
2. Robinson Used Social Media to Reach Out to Worried Parents
Robinson posted on Facebook as soon as her group was safe and encouraged families to call her. Her messages were shared by other users to help spread the word.
“We have got about 50 kids with us waiting to be picked up, they are safe we will look after them. We have taken as many kids as we can to Holiday Inn we will keep them safe and stay with them,” Robinson wrote. She said that she has still been getting calls and messages on her phone today.
3. She Has Already Done an Interview With BBC
Robinson spoke to BBC about what happened and what she did to help. In the interview, Robinson stressed that she was trying to help but that she shouldn’t be considered a “help line.” She recalled taking two children who were upset away from the scene and yelled out for other people to follow her as she headed to the Holiday Inn.
The full interview is set to air on Tuesday evening.
4. Some People Believe Robinson’s Story Was Fabricated
There has been some chatter on social media about this story being fabricated by Robinson after the Holiday Inn in Manchester posted a tweet saying that there weren’t any missing children at that location.
“There [have] been reports of a number of unaccompanied children being bought to a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express in the area, however these are incorrect. Our hotels were working with police throughout the night, but we did not have a group of unaccompanied children at our hotel,” a spokesperson for InterContinental Hotels said.
Manchester police also tweeted about children being at a nearby hotel, denying such reports.
Because of these messages, people have been wondering if Robinson’s story was made up. Some wondered if she got the name of the hotel wrong, but other hotels in the area have also released statements, confirming that there aren’t any missing children on their properties either.
5. Social Media Users Have Been Expressing Their Gratitude For Robinson
Social media has been lighting up with words of heartfelt thanks for a woman who did what she could in a time of crisis. After hearing about Robinson’s efforts to get people to safety, many have taken to Twitter to express praise for the woman that people are now referring to as the “Angel of Manchester.”
You can see some of the reactions below.