While yesterday's Boston Marathon blasts shuttered the doors of some businesses at the scene of the explosion, it also opened the doors of others. Today, reports surfaced of businesses--from Boston's mom-and-pop restaurants to tech giant Google-- that stepped up efforts to help those in need of food, wifi, electricity, and even a place to sleep.
A handful of local restaurants became safe havens for stranded marathoners. Within three hours of the blast, Cambridge-based Oleana Restaurant and Boston-based El Pelón Taquería tweeted that anyone seeking a place to wait for information or in a need of a cold drink should feel free to stop by.
If marathoners need a warm meal or a safe place to wait for loved ones, we will help. (617) 661-0505-; Oleana Restaurant (@OleanaBuzz) April 15, 2013
El Pelón, a Mexican food restaurant with one store in Boston and one in Brighton, unlocked their wifi as service providers experienced network outages due to call congestion. "Open wifi, place to charge cell, or just don't want to be alone, food and drinks, - pay only if you can," read one of the tweets sent shortly after 6 p.m. ET Monday night by El Pelon.
We have cold drinks,bathrooms, place to charge a phone and a calm place to sit #westandtogether-; El Pelon Taqueria (@ElPelonTaqueria) April 15, 2013
Rather than giving away free food like El Pelón, Bondir, a small restaurant in Cambridge, made the pledge to donate all of their proceeds from Monday's night dinner service to "the victims of today's tragedy."
Bondir, perhaps the best restaurant in US and definitely in Boston, donating 100% of income to today's victims twitter.com/daviottenheime…-; davi ottenheimer (@daviottenheimer) April 16, 2013
In addition to local businesses, Google also joined in the effort. To connect concerned friends and relatives with those in Boston, Google and Red Cross launched a people tracking tool within a few hours of the explosions. As of this afternoon, the "Boston Marathon Explosion" section of Google's Person Finder included 5,400 records.
A few hours after the incident, home rental service Airbnb received a Twitter inquiry as to whether they would be able to provide free accomodations. The company responded:
@marihuertas Yes, of course we can waive fees for stranded marathon runners. Please have them message us if they need accommodations.-; Airbnb (@Airbnb) April 15, 2013
By yesterday evening, Airbnb had set up a page dedicated to Boston accomodations:
If you need urgent Boston accommodations, or can provide them: ow.ly/k5Xut-; Airbnb (@Airbnb) April 16, 2013
Boston Globe and Boston.com facilitated similar exchanges of accommodations by setting up a Google Documents' spreadsheet, within two hours of the blasts.