Six months ago Mamoudou Gassama, 22, was back in his home country of Mali, dreaming of following in the footsteps of many of his countrymen to build a new life in Paris. Now, the undocumented immigrant is being hailed as a hero, and will today meet the President amid calls for him to receive his papers and be allowed to officially settle in France.
It all started on Saturday afternoon, as Mamoudou was walking home from the famous Gare du Nord railway station. He came across a panicked crowd of people, looking on with terror as a 4-year-old boy was dangling precariously from a balcony, four storeys up. Without a thought for his personal safety, Mamoudou leapt into action and began to climb the building with incredible ease, something which has earned him the nickname ‘spiderman.’
Speaking to Le Parisien, Mamoudou explained what was going through his mind during his daring rescue. “I did not think of the floors, I did not think of the risk,” he said. “I did it because it’s a child. I really like children.”
In addition to a personal ‘merci’ from President Macron, Mamoudou also received congratulations from the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who posted on Twitter: “Congratulations to Mamoudou Gassama for his brave act that helped save a child’s life last night. I had the pleasure to talk with him today by phone, to thank him warmly.”
It seems like Mamoudou’s selfless act has endeared him to the French nation, and will go a long way toward helping him settle in the country. “He explained to me that he arrived from Mali a few months ago while dreaming of building his life here,” Hidalgo also explained. “I replied that his heroic gesture 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.”
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