When blasts ripped through the finish line at the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 100, dozens of people responded by posting their phone numbers and addresses in a Google Doc offering space in their homes for displaced hotel guests in town for the race.
It was just one of many acts of generosity on Monday, not the most courageous, perhaps, even mostly, symbolic in the end. But it was also deeply comforting to many across the country who learned of it.
I reached out to a few dozen of the people on the list. Of those who responded, none said they were taken up on their offer.
Can I just tell you how many people have called me to just thank me for offering up my home? They don't even need a place. Just a thanks.
My wife and I were watching the marathon between Mile 22 and Mile 23 when the runners, police officers, and EMTs started talking about the explosions. We realized that many of the runners and supporters would not be able to return to their hotels right away, and offering our place as a temporary refuge seemed like an easy way to help. Many thanks to the Boston Globe for publishing the link to the signup list.
Nobody has called or e-mailed me to accept the offer yet. I hope that means everyone has a comfortable and safe place to stay already, though of course I’m happy to welcome anyone who needs a place to stay.
I was not near any of the events, I was on the T trying to get somewhere, and then the T stopped, so I ended up walking home. I don’t have a fancy phone, so I had to rely on the information of people around me. It reminded me that our communities are our biggest strength…. No one took me up on the offered space, but I feel like I was able to show how strong the Boston community is, and how welcoming we can be, even in the event of a tragedy.
Today’s events now sit among the far too many tragedies of recent years. Boston is a small town and everyone will know somebody impacted. Offering my home was a no brainer, and I wish I could do more. While I have not had any runners take me up on the offer, I’m going to keep my phone on all night incase there is an opportunity to help. Interestingly, I’ve received emails and text messages from people across the country thanking me for offering my room.
The important story in terms of response was that by first responders and fellow citizens rushing to assist in the midst of the attack. Offering up shelter to those that needed it was a very small act and not noteworthy in my opinion. I didn't have any takers on the offer.
Kara Bauer (two time Boston Marathon runner and volunteer):
I am utterly and completely heartbroken that someone would disrupt such a positive and peaceful event. Most runners on the course at the time of the bombing were running for charity and giving their all for the cause. Many others battled the snow and cold to train all winter for a personal goal that demanded they change their lives for the better. I can't image anyone finding a reason to destroy that.
Regarding my offer for lodging, I got no takers - but would easily have opened my home to anyone who needed help.