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Boston Marathon explosions attract an outpouring of help from city's residents

Eric Adelson
Yahoo Sports

It's a plain spreadsheet with a simple title: "I have a place to offer."

What follows is simply inspiring.

There are names, thousands of names of people in the Boston area with standing offers to help those displaced by the horrifying explosions near the finish line of Monday's Boston Marathon. By Monday evening, the Google document had become more than a resource for the stranded. It became a viral statement of solidarity from the proud people of Massachusetts.

Links to the list can be found on the front page of the Boston Globe website. "Have a place to offer?" the website reads. "Fill out this form."

[Related: Get more coverage of the Boston Marathon explosions]

There are email addresses and phone numbers for nearly every entry. And there are messages.

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A woman is comforted by a man near a triage tent set up for the Boston Marathon. (Reuters)

"I don't live in the city," reads one, "but can come get anyone who needs a place to stay."

"I live in Hopkinton," reads another, "but would happily drive anywhere to pick up a runner who needs food, shelter and comfort."

"Space for one person on a pull-out couch," goes a third. "Will cook you a nice meal too!"

The list goes on and on, filled with sudden patriots on a terrible Patriots Day. One man offers not only his place, but offers to sleep somewhere else so a stranded runner can sleep in his bed. One woman from Cambridge writes she will pay for the taxi ride from wherever. Someone from Somerville apologetically says he has to work late but he'll leave early and head straight home if anyone has a need.

[Related: Multiple fatalities as two bombs explode at Boston Marathon]

Some messages are simple – "We've got couches!" – and some read like real-estate notices, describing the number of bedrooms and listing pets in case someone out there has an allergy. Some sound like text messages to old friends: "I just made soup!" It would have been more than enough to just put a name and email. Almost no one stopped at that.

The first entry appeared at 5:39 p.m., only a few hours after the explosions occurred. The most recent entry (as of this writing) comes two hours later, at 7:40. More than 4,000 people put their personal information on the Internet for everyone to see because they wanted total strangers to come over to their houses and rest and feel better. Think about that.

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Runners continue to run toward the finish line of the marathon as an explosion erupts. (Reuters)

A random name picked out led us to Jonathan Zuker in Rockport. He picked up on the first ring.

"I was monitoring the Boston.com live blog," he says. "I run a cancer non-profit. We know a lot of people running for charities. When I saw they were looking for volunteers … anything you can do to help. At least extend that offer. We're all in this together."

Zuker was crushed when he heard about the explosions and the casualties. He describes the finish line at the marathon as "the happiest place on Earth." An attempt to ruin that would not stand with him, or anyone else for that matter. He was heartened but not at all surprised to see so many people rushing to assist.

"I think that's the best of our country," he said. "It's Patriots Day. It's uniquely ours."

[Related: NBA cancels Celtics game after explosions]

Rockport isn't even close to Boston. Neither are a lot of towns on the list. But no matter. Maybe some runner, or runner's relative, will see this spreadsheet and imagine thousands of living-room lights being left on for them all over the Commonwealth.

"There's more good people out there than bad people," Zuker says. "And it's way more. The scales aren't even close."

He's right. There were perhaps one or two evildoers on Monday. And the list of good people goes on and on, growing by the minute, lined up in rows, ready to do anything to help.

More Boston Marathon explosions coverage on Yahoo!:
Twitter reaction to the Boston Marathon explosions
Boston Bruins postpone home game following explosions
Watch: Witness on 'horrifying' moments in Boston

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