Imagine sitting outside and casually enjoying a meal at a restaurant only to suddenly realize a crowd of people gathering and gazing up at a child dangling helplessly from a fourth story apartment balcony. What would you do? This is precisely the scenario that 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama found himself witnessing before quickly climbing the building to rescue the endangered child in front of cheering onlookers below.
Now being dubbed the "Malian Spiderman," Gassama is a migrant from Mali who had recently arrived in Paris and hoped to move there permanently to begin a life for himself. He had come to the neighborhood to watch a football game on TV in a local restaurant. After seeing the crowd gather and noticing the dangling child, he sprang into action without much thought for his own personal safety. "I didn't think about it, I climbed up and God helped me," Gassama shared with French President, Emmanuel Macron, after being invited to the Élysée Palace on Monday.
The child’s father was reportedly out shopping at the time of the incident and had left the child alone. "I like children, I would have hated to see him getting hurt in front of me. I ran and I looked for solutions to save him and thank God I scaled the front of the building to the balcony," said Gassama.
Gassama was definitely in the right place at the right time to selflessly rescue the child and his demonstrated heroic effort has yielded him not only International praise, but also the French citizenship that he dreamed of obtaining and a paid 10-month internship offer from the Paris fire brigade. "Mamoudou shares the values of the Paris fire brigade. We are ready to welcome him," tweeted the fire brigade.
By the time the brigade arrived on the scene, Gassama had already successfully rescued the child. Gassama was also presented with a "certificate of courage and dedication" signed by the Paris Police Prefect, Michel Delpuech, upon exiting his meeting with President Macron.
Paris Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, also took to Twitter on Monday to praise and thank Gassama for his act of bravery: "He explained to me that he arrived from Mali a few months ago with the dream of making a life for himself here. I replied that his heroic act is an example for all citizens and that the city of Paris will obviously be keen to support him in his efforts to settle in France."