When a terrorist attack happens in one of the world's greatest cities, it's easy to get overwhelmed with all of the bad news streaming out. It's never easy to see images of people with burns or of flames in a Tube train. However, you can take heart in at least one thing: London's response to the horrific attack at Parsons Green has been incredibly and heartwarmingly British.
One Twitter user, Katy Dunn, warmed the internet's collective heart by opening her home to anyone who might be feeling a bit shaken up. "If anyone is feeling shocked or confused at
#ParsonsGreen, I'm round the corner and the kettle's on," she wrote on Twitter, adding a smiley face at the end. She wasn't alone, with fellow Twitter user James Edge offering something similar. "Anyone who's now stuck in Parsons Green/Fulham drop me a line and I'll get the kettle on! #ParsonsGreen" Edge wrote on Twitter, soon after the attack.
Dunn, for her part, didn't see her offer as some sort of heroism, despite the media attention she's garnered since posting the tweet. After she began getting interview requests from various media outlets, she denied them all, saying that it was just what she hoped any kind person would do. "It's the little acts of kindness that bring us together - that's how I try to live my life, anyway!" she wrote, responding to one grateful tweet. Neither Dunn nor Edge have confirmed on Twitter whether anyone took them up on their offers, but the world is grateful that they're at least out there.
Another frequent response has been to commend the German supermarket chain Lidl on the quality of their bags, one of which was used to contain the explosive device. Lidl wrote a statement shortly after the attack offering to support the authorities in whatever way they could and confirming that an insensitive tweet attributed to them was, in fact, a hoax.
Lidl has a bit of a cult following among bargain hunters across Europe, and all of those people are now coming out to celebrate the quality of the "bags for life" reusable bags that customers can buy at Lidl. The bag was so strong, some people speculated, that it might have even helped contain the explosion, thereby saving lives. It is true that the bomb was built to have a stronger explosion, although there's been no confirmation that it was indeed the Lidl bag that prevented it from going off more fully.
While it's important not to lose sight of the seriousness of this situation and the trauma that the victims undoubtedly went through this morning, these sorts of humor and good spirits are a quintessentially London way of responding to difficult times. Everyone's seen the "Keep Calm and Carry On" signs that were originally popularized during World War II, and this is really just another iteration of that. You might also remember the milkman who persisted in his duties even during the London Blitz, a symbol of that very "Keep Calm and Carry On" attitude. We've survived a lot more than this, Londoners are saying, and they've got the history to back them up.
It's especially important to keep up this spirit in a year like this, when England had already experienced four major terrorist attacks before Friday morning. In this one, thankfully, none of the at least 22 people injured appear to be in serious condition, with most suffering from burn wounds caused by the explosion. The U.K.'s top officials will be meeting today to discuss the emergency response, and the world collectively hopes that they will come to a solution that will help stop this terrible violence. In the meantime, though, go have a cuppa and take a deep breath — after all, it's exactly what London is doing.