Heroic African Immigrant Scales Building With His Bare Hands to Rescue a Child

What started as a frightening incident has ended with an undocumented immigrant being heralded as a hero. 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama has been living in Paris for just 6 months after arriving from Mali to build a life in the French capital. And now, after giving back, it seems the country is embracing him warmly.

Gassama was on his way to watch a local soccer game when he came upon a frantic, panicked crowd who were looking up at a small child dangling from a balcony. Without hesitation, videos show Gassama leaping into action, climbing four stories up the side of the building to pull the 4-year-old boy to safety. Luckily, both Gassama and the child were left unharmed, just shaken up and with a few scratches. The child's father, who is believed to have left the boy alone while out shopping, is now under investigation by authorities.

The French media is calling Gassama “Le Spiderman” for his heroic deed and for the speed with which he scaled the building. “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,” he told CNN.

For his bravery, he was invited to meet President Emmanuel Macron and given a fast-track to French citizenship. He was also praised by the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who called to thank him personally, and was even offered a job by the Paris fire brigade.

“The courage of our young compatriot aged 22, an undocumented migrant, shows that his values are of humanity and love for his neighbor,” declared Toumani Djimé Diallo, Mali's ambassador to France. “These are fundamental values in Malian society.” And certainly, in an age where undocumented immigrants are often looked upon with suspicion and hate, Gassama's selflessness reminds us to evaluate people as individuals, no matter their life circumstance.

In fact, as CNN points out, Gassama's tenacity and courage started long before this incident. Facing peril and danger on his voyage from Mali, he traveled through Libya, where he told journalists he spent a difficult year after being beaten and arrested. In 2014, he arrived in Italy before coming to Paris to join his brother. To date in 2018, 655 migrants have died in the Mediterranean, making Gassama fortunate for even making it to Europe. And fortunately for that child, Gassama was there to come to his rescue.

Watch how Mamoudou Gassama quickly scaled a building to come to the rescue to a child dangling from the fourth-floor balcony.

h/t: [APlus]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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