Chaos and panic ensued in Barcelona, Spain, after a suspected terrorist drove a van into the city's most famous avenue, packed with tourists taking an afternoon stroll, and killed 13 people while injuring more than 100.
The driver managed to flee the scene. Police suspected it was one of multiple planned attacks and later reportedly killed five terror suspects in Cambrils, a town south of Barcelona, thwarting a second attack using explosive belts.
The images of bodies strewn across the street and the wounded victims rattled people across the world. But the terrifying attack was not enough to break down the spirit of Barcelona, which responded to such hatred with acts of kindness and humanity, proving all is not lost.
As the police cordoned off the attack and site and surrounding areas in search of the driver, Barcelona Tourism began offering hotels to tourists who were staying there.
"Let them come, so that we may care for them until La Rambla reopens," Joan Gaspart, president of Barcelona Tourism, said in a statement.
The hashtag #BedInBarcelona also began trending, as people opened their homes for those who need to stay the night, a stark contrast to the so-called “anti-tourism sentiment” that was previously being reported in the city.
I have 2+ beds and couch available for anyone who needs a place to sleep today in Barcelona. Near Plaça Espanya. DM's open. #BedInBarcelona— Gloxinia (@cafeclado) August 17, 2017
#BedInBarcelona if someone needs somewhere to stay I have space for 5 people. Atenció Poble Sec/Paralel, Barcelona centre— Nysha (@dream_jcm) August 17, 2017
I have 3 beds + couch available if anyone needs somewhere to stay for the night. I'm next to Sants Estació. MDs are open. #BedInBarcelona— PAMTUMACA ?? (@NCandado8) August 17, 2017
If someone needs a place to crash around Collblanc/Zona Universitaria/Camp Nou contact me #BedInBarcelona— Rodrigo ML (@meruelo91) August 17, 2017
Even taxis and private car services, namely Cabify, came forward and offered free service to anyone that needed it.
Si estás en #Barcelona y necesitas movilizarte, Cabify será gratuito durante el día de hoy introduciendo el código UNIDOS1708— Cabify España (@cabify_espana) August 17, 2017
Barcelona's transport authority also stopped charging people for the metro and bus tickets.
Following the attack, hospitals in Barcelona called for blood donations to avoid potential shortages. Hundreds of people queued up outside hospital and clinics to donate blood and have since filled the blood reserves.
Additionally, the Eulen strike committee, which is a private company responsible for providing security to Catalonia's El Prat Airport, also postponed their indefinite strike
Staff at Barcelona airport have called off a strike to allow tourists to fly home - in response to the terror attack on Las Ramblas.— 5News (@5_News) August 17, 2017
Shortly after the Islamic State reportedly accepted the responsibility of the attack, the hashtag #StopIslam emerged on social media.
WTF!? This hashtag is innecesary and ridiculous #StopIslam— Yaiza (@yaizasaezb) August 17, 2017
However, the Twitterati soon began to share heartrending stories of their interactions with members of the Muslim community, prompting the hashtag #StopIslamofobia.
“#Barcelona is my home town, as Aleppo or Baghdad. The day we understand that everyone is all something, perhaps, will change.”
Mi madre estaba a 2 calles de las Ramblas. Un taxista marroquí la ha llevado gratis a casa y le ha dicho q no todos son iguales. #Barcelona— Mertxe Pasamontes (@Mertxe) August 17, 2017
“My mother was 2 blocks from las Ramblas. A Moroccan cabbie has led her free home and been told that not all are equal. #Barcelona”
“#Stopislamofobia for extremists who take advantage of the situation, we remember”
It is heartwarming to see how people can restore your faith in humanity even in the darkest of times.
Thumbnail/Banners: Reuters, Sergio Perez