Mamoudou Gassama risked his life and the ability to live in his adopted home of France after performing one of the bravest acts ever seen. Gassama scaled a Paris apartment building to rescue a toddler who was hanging from a balcony and has been rightfully rewarded with citizenship in France and a job with the country’s fire service.
As reported by The Guardian, the man the French press has dubbed “le Spiderman” is an undocumented immigrant from Malia who climbed for stories on the side of the building to rescue the child. Despite the risk of deportation and injury, Gassama leaped into action without fear.
The Guardian writes:
Footage of the rescue shows Gassama, 22, pulling himself up the building’s storeys from balcony to balcony as a man on the fourth floor tries to hold on to the child by leaning across from a neighbouring balcony.
On reaching the fourth floor, Gassama puts one leg over the balcony before reaching out with his right arm and grabbing the child.
Firefighters arrived at the scene to find the child had already been rescued.
“Luckily, there was someone who was physically fit and who had the courage to go and get the child,” a fire service spokesman said.
Tracked down by reporters 24 hours after the rescue, Gassama said he had acted without thinking. “I saw all these people shouting, and cars sounding their horns. I climbed up like that and, thank God, I saved the child,” he said.
“I felt afraid when I saved the child … [when] we went into the living room, I started to shake, I could hardly stand up, I had to sit down,” he added.
Gassama received praise from Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and met with French President Emmanuel Macron who offered the hero a path to citizenship and the fire service job offer.
The news has been one of the best feel-good stories of the weekend, and the response online has been nothing short of joyous for good reason.