Even in the absence of a radioactive spider bite or secret super-soldier serum, Mamoudou Gassama is a real-life superhero. The Malian immigrant was recorded by cellphone during an astounding death-defying climb up four floors to rescue a child holding on for dear life to the side of a railing, all while a terrified crowd hollered on the streets below.
The cellphone video quickly went viral, drawing international attention and praise to the incredible hero, who arrived in France last year. Gassama first set off from his native Mali and traveled through war-torn Libya, before making his way over the Mediterranean Sea by boat to Italy. He then entered France, which houses approximately 120,000 Malians as of 2013.
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As reported by BBC, at the time of the heroic act on Saturday, Gassama was a 22-year-old undocumented immigrant, although the public gratitude and attention of his bravery is quickly changing that status. President Emmanuel Macron scheduled a meeting with him at the Elysee Palace, stating that Gassama would be made a naturalized citizen and rewarding him with a medal and certificate for his bravery. The president even offered him a job with the Paris fire brigade.
Quel courage .. bravo à ce jeune du 18eme pour cet acte héroïque 👏🏼Posted by Habib Bibou on Saturday, May 26, 2018
The video, which was first shared publicly on Facebook, jumped to more than 11 million views, cementing Gassama as a bona fide internet sensation. Viewers can watch him rapidly scale the patio railings of four floors in under 40 seconds, in an impressive demonstration of rare courage and physical prowess. When he reached the fourth floor, the entire crowd was already cheering in relief, even before watching Gassama deftly raise the child up by their left arm and rest them onto the safety of the balcony floor. He didn’t even wait until he had both feet stabilized on the balcony, either, rescuing the child while he was still straddling the railing.
There are so many other ways this story could have ended, and the child’s parents must doubtlessly be grateful that but one of the many assembled onlookers on the street saw fit to risk their life. Furthermore, the event summons powerful optics to the ongoing issue of immigration, which is specifically a hot topic in France, as a controversial bill designed to accelerate deportation of economic migrants is currently in debate by lawmakers.
While there’s been no word released as to whether Gassama will indeed become a fireman or not, this daring rescue demonstrates what a real-life superhero looks like - Spider-Man would be proud. In that vein, digital artist BossLogic released a piece of Gassama dressed as Spider-Man and overlooking the skyline of Paris. Take a look below:
Watched a video this morning of Mamoudou Gassama climbing a building to save a child that was hanging on for his life, puts faith in humanity right back in its place - real life #spiderman needs to hang out with @TomHolland1996 @MarvelStudios pic.twitter.com/kCrOFiO5oe— BossLogic (@Bosslogic) May 28, 2018