Mamoudou Gassama, a 22-year old Malian migrant, living in the Parisian suburb of Montreuil, is being called a real-life Spider-Man after heroically climbing up the side of a building to save a falling child. Gassama managed to scale four floors in under a minute, just in time to rescue the suspended little boy, who was left unsupervised by his father. Once he reached the balcony, he lunged his leg over it to gain stability and swiftly grabbed and lifted the four-year-old to safety.
The incident took place on Saturday, May 28th around 8 pm on Rue Marx-Dormoy, near the 18th arrondissement, in Northern Paris. Firefighters arrived at the scene shortly after the dramatic rescue had already transpired and were thankful. “Luckily, there was someone who was physically fit and who had the courage to go and get the child,” a fire service spokesman said, according to The Guardian.
Gassama moved from his homeland of Mali to France in September 2017, undocumented, in hopes of starting afresh. “He explained to me that he had arrived from Mali a few months ago dreaming of building his life here,” reveals Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who had called him in appreciation following the event. “I told him that his heroic act is an example to all citizens and that the city of Paris will obviously be very keen to support him in his efforts to settle in France,” she added on Twitter.
Hidalgo’s prediction came true as Gassama was invited to meet with French President, Emmanuel Macron, the subsequent Monday. The head of state met with Gassama at the Élysée Palace and presented him with a certificate of courage and dedication signed by Paris Police Prefect Michel Delpuech, as well the promise of becoming a French citizen. “All the (Gassama’s) documents will be put in order,” said the President.
The meeting was recorded live and broadcasted on Macron’s Facebook page, which was watched by thousands. “I was not thinking of anything. I went straight up”, Gassama told Macron, recounting the day. “I’m pleased because it’s the first time I’ve received a trophy like that,” he revealed with pride as he accepted the medal of bravery. Macron also offered the young man a position in the fire brigade to help him establish himself in his new home.