Mamoudou Gassama came to Paris in hopes of finding a better life and more job opportunities. He would get those — but his application process would be one of a kind.
The 22-year-old from Mali was out at a restaurant last week to catch a football game, but he ended up catching a lot more.
He heard a commotion going on outside, so he followed the sound. What he found was terrifying: a small child was dangling from the railing of a fourth-story apartment building.
People were yelling, screaming and calling for emergency assistance. Some people were trying to scale the fence at the bottom of the apartments — a tall security fence topped with spikes.
The situation looked grim. Gassama saw the situation and leapt into action.
He flew up the fence, hauled himself up over the railing from the first balcony, and jumped to the next level, and the next.
A couple on a neighboring balcony were trying to reach the 4-year-old, but there was a privacy wall keeping them from being able to grab the child and pull him to safety.
Fortunately, Gassama pulled himself over the fourth balcony and yanked the child to safety. The crowd cheered, thrilled to see the young child safe.
The child was apparently left at home, and his negligent father has since been released but an investigation is ongoing.
“I like children, I would have hated to see him getting hurt in front of me,” Gassama later said. “I ran and I looked for solutions to save him and thank God I scaled the front of the building to the balcony.”
Avec M. GASSAMA qui a sauvé samedi la vie d’un enfant en escaladant 4 étages à mains nues. Je lui ai annoncé qu’en reconnaissance de cet acte héroïque il allait être régularisé dans les plus brefs délais, et que la brigade des sapeurs-pompiers de Paris était prête à l’accueillir. Je l’ai également invité à déposer une demande de naturalisation. Car la France est une volonté, et M. GASSAMA a démontré avec engagement qu’il l’avait ! – With Mr Gassama who saved a child’s life on Saturday by climbing 4 floors with his bare hands. I told him that in recognition of his heroic act he would have his papers in order as quickly as possible and that the Paris fire brigade would be keen to welcome him to their ranks. I also invited him to submit a naturalization request because France is built on desire and Mr Gassama’s commitment clearly showed that he has that desire!
A tweet from the Paris fire brigade was their official job offer. “Mamoudou shares the values of the Paris fire brigade,” they wrote. “We are ready to welcome him.”
French President Macron met with Gassama on Monday, and offered him citizenship to recognize his contributions.
“With Mr Gassama who saved a child’s life on Saturday by climbing 4 floors with his bare hands,” he posted on Instagram.
“I told him that in recognition of his heroic act he would have his papers in order as quickly as possible and that the Paris fire brigade would be keen to welcome him to their ranks. I also invited him to submit a naturalization request because France is built on desire and Mr Gassama’s commitment clearly showed that he has that desire!”
Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, also recognized the hero’s actions. “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.”
Thankfully this story has a happy ending: the child was saved, he has been put in the hands of more caring people, and Gassama is well on his way to citizenship and work!
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