As Parisians made the most of an unusually pleasant Friday night before winter arrived, the most terrible form of horror struck.
It was like a wildfire, ignited in six places but making its way throughout the heart of Europe, until the entire city was plunged into chaos. Bullets may only have reverberated in six places, but their resounding thunder was heard all across Paris. The City of Lights darkened.
And perhaps, it is in the most desperate of times that we see the most courageous of compassion. In the midst of explosions and shootings, Parisians opened their doors for strangers who were out there alone and scared.
With the hashtag #PorteOuverte, French for "Open Doors," Parisians invited strangers inside.
#PorteOuverte If you need a place to stay tonight in the 18th we can host a few people, clean bedding, tea, and internet if you need it!— Gaybby (@gabshnks) November 13, 2015
Anyone, come to Rue Keller. I can get the door open if you need. Lot of cops here. #PorteOuverte— Simon Wasselin (@SimonWasselin) November 13, 2015
The concept of #PorteOuverte, the idea of people opening up their homes tonight to help strangers, is the best thought to go to bed on.— Stig Abell (@StigAbell) November 14, 2015
Kindness, much like terror, is quick to make its home in people's hearts. The Sikh community extended the same kindness, proclaiming that their gurdwaras (places of worship) in Paris, were open to anyone seeking shelter.
Anybody who's stranded in Paris and needs shelter and somewhere safe, any Sikh Gurdwara (temple) will be happy to accommodate #PorteOuverte— Rohan (@RohanSinghKalsi) November 13, 2015
Taxi drivers all over the city offered free or discounted rides to people stuck in stranded cafes, bars and restaurants.
Taxis taking people for free in Paris as many others stuck in shuttered bars, restaurants, some even locked in kitchens #ParisAttacks— sophie pilgrim (@sophiepilgrim) November 13, 2015
As the lights in Eiffel Towers were turned off, these kind human beings lit up rays of hopes all over Paris.
The journey to recovery will be an arduous one. For weeks to come, Parisians will awake with a sinking feeling, these ghastly memories being the first things to come to their mind. The scars might fade, but the wound will remain.
Maybe, a little more understanding, some more compassion, could quicken the healing.