Mamoudou Gassama, a 22-year-old man from Mali, stunned the people of Paris with his incredible courage and athleticism when he scaled the side of a building to rescue a child.
Gassama was on his way to a local restaurant to watch a televised football match when he saw a commotion. A crowd had gathered as a small four-year-old boy was hanging off the balcony of an apartment building five stories up.
Gassama says he didn’t think about it, he just lept into action, scaling the building — jumping from balcony to balcony. In a matter of a few seconds, Gassama had reached the boy and pulled him to safety.
You can watch the stunning video below:
— Hannah Jane Parkinson (@ladyhaja) May 27, 2018
The footage of the rescue quickly went viral and Gassama, who had entered France without authorization just a few months prior, was invited to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron who gave the hero a certificate and a gold medal for performing an act of courage and dedication.
Gassama told Macron:
I didn’t think about it, I climbed up and God helped me.
Macron also offered to clear up Gassama’s citizenship:
“Because this is an exceptional act…we are obviously, today, going to regularize all your papers.”
As Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo put it:
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.
A great Bravo to the party for his bravery that saved the life of a child last night. I was pleased to speak with him today by telephone, in order to thank him warmly.
Un grand bravo à Mamoudou Gassama pour son acte de bravoure qui a permis de sauver hier soir la vie d'un enfant. J'ai eu plaisir à m'entretenir avec lui aujourd'hui par téléphone, afin de le remercier chaleureusement. https://t.co/DP5vQ1VZYh
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) May 27, 2018
Twitter was stunned by Gassama’s quick thinking and courage.
Wow, I'm impressed. The power of the individual.
— Billy Smith (@acritical) May 28, 2018
This is a feat that even the most elite of athletes would struggle & fail to achieve. Brutally insane genetics for sure, combined with a massive heart of gold & balls so big I'm surprised he was able to get his feet off the ground.
The guy's not just a hero, but a superhero.
— iLoveOrtzi (@iLoveOrtzi) May 28, 2018
Amazing well done sir
— Chase Howard (@ChaseHoward14) May 28, 2018
— Gaurav Ghuge (@Gaurav_Ghuge) May 28, 2018
Many people thought they witnessed a real life superhero.
WOW!! Real life Spiderman hero!!
— Michelle C (@shel0827) May 28, 2018
Inspired by black panther.
— Brian knathi (@knathi_brian) May 28, 2018
— Jen (@jennifertetteh) May 27, 2018
Others saw a downside to the fact that Gassama had to go to such lengths to be granted citizenship:
Rather patronising isn't it? Great for him and he no doubt deserves it but so do tens of thousands of others.
— ohyeahsure (@Chomskyter) May 28, 2018
sick that migrants have to risk their lives to be noticed and given a chance…bravo white kings………
— From Where I Sit (@infomorsels) May 28, 2018
This Twitter user thought Gassama should be on television.
Someone get this hero an audition on one of those Ninja Warrior obstacle course shows. @ninjawarrior
— Timothy Castantine (@Castantine) May 28, 2018
In the meantime, though, Gassama has joined the Paris Fire Brigade as a fireman.
Close up of 22 year old Mamoudou Gassama. The real life Spiderman who scaled four storeys in 30 seconds to save a child hanging from a balcony. pic.twitter.com/DA5PxKfyZN
— Bettie Rose (@BettieRose100) May 28, 2018