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An undocumented immigrant is being praised as a national hero in France after he scaled a building to save a young child hanging from a balcony.
On Saturday, Gassama scaled an apartment building in fewer than 40 seconds to save the 4-year-old, who was clinging to the balcony railing on the fifth floor. A video that garnered millions of views on social media shows Gassama climbing to save the toddler as onlookers cheer.
After footage of the rescue went viral, French politicians thanked Gassama, who moved to Paris from Mali just a few months ago.
Macon said Gassama will be made a natural French citizen, according to the BBC and a Facebook post from the office of the presidency. Macon was also presented with a medal for courage and offered a position with the fire service.
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...Posted by Emmanuel Macron on Monday, May 28, 2018
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, thanked Gassama in a phone call on Sunday.
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
“He explained to me that he arrived from Mali a few months ago while dreaming of building his life here. 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,” Hidalgo tweeted, per BuzzFeed’s translation.
She also said he’s the “Spider-Man of the 18th,” referring to the Paris district where the incident happened.
According to French news station La Chaîne Info, the child’s father was placed in custody for alleged neglect. Gassama told BFM TV he saw the toddler hanging from the balcony because people were shouting on the street.
H/T BuzzFeed News
Kris Seavers is the IRL editor for the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.