It’s not every day a man scales the side of the building to save a child. Mamoudou Gassama, an undocumented immigrant from Mali who has been living in Paris, scaled four floors of an apartment building this week and rescued a 4-year-old that was dangling off the side of a balcony.
In a video that has since gone viral across the world, Mamoudou is shown climbing from the ground floor to the fourth-floor balcony in about one minute, completely unassisted. The toddler can be seen in a white outfit, gripping the outside edge of the balcony and swaying a bit. A man on a neighboring balcony can be seen trying to reach around a partition to grab the child, but he is too far away.
By the time Mamoudou jumps onto the fourth-floor balcony, the man has managed to grasp the child’s arm and keep him steady. Mamoudou then jumps onto the balcony, takes the child’s other arm and pulls him to safety back onto the balcony of the apartment.
As a result of the global attention, Mamoudou, 22, has met with French President Emmanuel Macron, who offered Mamoudou the opportunity to become a naturalized French citizen and awarded him a medal for courage. Mamoudou, who is a national hero in France, was also given the opportunity to work for the fire service as a firefighter.
Mamoudou arrived in France last year after taking a boat across the Meditteranean to Italy, were he lived legally for a few months. He came to France because his brother has lived there for about twenty years.
When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found that the child had already been rescued, and hailed Mamoudou for his quick thinking. The boy was found to have an injured foot and had been left alone at the apartment. His father was located and is expected to be charged, while his mother is believed to have been away from Paris at the time.