Mamoudou Gassama knew he needed to think quickly when he saw a 4-year-old toddler dangling from a balcony in Paris, France. But rather than reaching for his cell phone to call the police, he took matters into his own hands by scaling four stories of an apartment building to rescue the child. An onlooker caught Mamoudou's rescue mission on video, and now it's going viral.
Although it almost looks unbelievable at first, the 22-year-old used his bare hands to swing himself up from balcony to balcony in an effort to save the little boy. He told BFM TV, a CNN affiliate, that he first noticed the toddler on his way home from watching a soccer game.
"I like children, I would have hated to see him getting hurt in front of me," said Mamoudou. "I ran and I looked for solutions to save him and thank God I scaled the front of the building to the balcony."
After making it to the apartment where the boy was hanging from, he knew he made the correct choice upon realizing the boy was in pain, explaining that, "He was crying because he was hurt."
"I like children, I would have hated to see him getting hurt in front of me."
Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, took the time to call Mamoudou, who is an undocumented immigrant originally from Mali, to thank him for his act of bravery.
"He arrived from Mali a few months ago with the dream of making a life for himself here," she said on Twitter. "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."
Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, agreed and officially granted Mamoudou French citizenship for his good deed as well as a job as a firefighter. He set up a meeting with Mamoudou and shared photos of the visit to Facebook with the news:
"With Mr. Gassama who saved the life of a child on Saturday by climbing four floors with [his] bare hands. I told him that in recognition of this heroic act he was going to be regularized as soon as possible, and that the Paris Fire Brigade was ready to welcome him. I also invited him to apply for naturalization."
The child's father, who was not present at the time of the incident, will face sentencing in September for "abandoning his parental responsibilities," according to a spokesman for the Paris prosecutor.