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After Boston Marathon blast, many show kindness to runners

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Melanie Stetson Freeman/TCSM

(Read caption) A couple sits on the sidewalk at an intersection where police have closed the road because of another bomb scare at a nearby hotel, on Monday in Boston, Massachusetts. All along the marathon route spectators came to the aid of runners offering drinks, blankets, cell phone calls, and even taking runners into their homes.

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As smoke cleared from the deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line, horrified runners were comforted by acts of kindness carried out by city residents offering aid.

Gestures as small as offering a drink of orange juice and use of a home bathroom were recounted on Twitter in an ongoing online recollection of the fellowship that emerged in the wake of Monday's devastation.

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"People are good. We met a woman who let us come into her home and is giving us drinks," tweeted Ali Hatfield, a Kansas City, Mo., runner who was in town for the race.

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As the city reeled from the tragedy that killed at least three and wounded at least 100, Bostonions seemed to steady themselves by reaching out to embrace those hurting even more.

"Two Lutheran pastors walking Commonwealth, Bibles in hand. For those who need comfort, they said," tweeted Chelsea Conaboy, a Boston Globe blogger.

A Google Docs form was quickly set up to allow Boston residents to open their homes to marathon runners from outside the area who had no place to stay in the aftermath of the tragedy.

"Anyone wanting to get out of the Back Bay [neighborhood] come, over plenty of tables and calm here and don't worry you don't have to buy a thing," tweeted a local restaurant called El Pelon Taqueria. "open wifi, place to charge cell, or just don't want to be alone, food and drinks, – pay only if you can #bostonhelp."

Pictures of heroism and humanity flooded Twitter, from police officers carrying injured young children to the residents who left their warm homes to greet runners stranded by the emergency and offer them comfort.

"Local Boston resident giving @AliHatfield and us orange juice and offering a bathroom to use," tweeted Ramsey Mohsen, a Kansas City, Mo., web strategist.

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In a tweet hours later, Mohsen revealed how shaken he was by the blast, "Only now has it hit me. Holding back tears best I can."

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Eric Walsh)