There were a few heroes who went out of their way to help those caught up in the Manchester Arena terror attack. They included a number of taxi drivers who turned off their meters so they could get people away from the area quickly and taxi firms who offered their services for free.
A Frodsham taxi firm cabbie risked his own safety to cross the police cordon set up in the aftermath of the Manchester terror attack so he could find four girls he was scheduled to collect to get them home safely.
Tommy McMahon, 47, from Runcorn, had been desperately trying to find a route to them by road but pulled up after hitting repeated road cordons. But he left his car and got the go-ahead from a police officer to pass through and search for the girls on foot, the Liverpool Echo reports.
His colleagues back at the Frodsham & District Taxis office tracked him on GPS and advised the route as he looked for a snooker club where the girls, three of whom he had dropped off at the start of the evening, were waiting.
While others were streaming out and trying to leave, Tommy pressed on, even running some of the route, while taking calls from workmates and the group of passengers themselves.
He said his only thought was to find the girls, who were aged 16 to 18 years, and to ‘get them home safe’.
After searching for up to half an hour on foot, he spoke to a policeman on one of the waiting group’s phones and then eventually spotted one of them waving from across the road from the snooker club not far from the Manchester (‘MEN’) Arena as high alert gripped the area beneath the spectre of potential further blasts and violence.
He walked with them back to his cab and then tried to find a way back out of Manchester and drop his passengers back in Runcorn. He managed to drop them off by 12.50pm without requesting or taking any payment.
Tommy was not the only Frodsham & District driver whose evening was affected by the explosion at the 21,000-seater Manchester arena. Colleague Richie Green, 45, of Halton Brook, dropped off a Manchester Royal Infirmary CT scanning unit medic who was anticipating a scene akin to a ‘war zone’ as they received updates including that two casualties had just died, bringing the total at that time to 19 as the scale of the disaster began to unfold.
Another taxi firm, Elton Bullitt of Bury, also joined those displaying the best of Manchester's famous community spirit last month. When they heard about the explosion at the Manchester Arena they put out on Twitter and Facebook they were offering free journeys back to Bury.
Pauline Leckie, a manager at Elton Bullitt, said: “It was difficult stuff last night, we take a lot of passengers to and from Manchester and the arena. It hit us all quite badly and we realised with the Metro not being on there were going to be a lot of people stranded.
“We just wanted to make sure people could get back okay if we could help in any way.”
Mrs Leckie said a total of 13 cars made the trip over the Manchester to help people get home from 11.30pm onwards. She said they despatched cars to the city centre as quickly as they could and said most of the picks ups were from near Strangeways Prison, a short walk from the Manchester Arena, along Bury New Road.
She added: “It’s devastating beyond belief. We all need to support each other and come together in times like this.”
Meanwhile, the efforts of a taxi driver from Keswick have made another heartwarming story to come out of the terror attacks in Manchester.
Alastair Quinn was a lifeline for a mother from Renwick, near Penrith, allowing her 19-year-old son to get home to safety.
And taxi driver Saf Ismail was among the many people who chose to open up the doors to their homes and cars to aid concertgoers in their time of need following the blast outside the Manchester Arena. The driver made three trips to Manchester that night, picking up 24 people in his van to get them to safety.
Ismail, a Pakistani Muslim who grew up in Manchester, told CBS News he saw so many people pouring out of the concert and he couldn't believe how young the victims were. He said they reminded him of his daughter, who could’ve been at the show.
“It was like seeing my daughter there. My daughter’s 15, and she was going to go to the concert,” Ismail said. “She was supposed to go, but she changed her mind a couple of months ago because she has exams coming up.”
The people Ismail ended up driving home were not hurt, but they were very upset after witnessing the explosion.
“They weren't injured but they were crying, shouting, screaming - just basically, very emotional,” Ismail said. “Your own emotions are running so high it’s like you’re seeing your own flesh and blood walking."