The man who has been recently nicknamed the “Spiderman of Paris” is making headlines again after meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. Mamoudou Gassama’s heroic quick thinking which lead to him saving the life of a four-year-old, caught the attention of people all over the world and especially in France. To thank the 22-year-old Malian immigrant, the country has taken him in as one of their own.
It was less than a week ago that Gassama scaled the walls of a Parisian apartment building to rescue a young boy that was dangling from a fourth story balcony. Investigators say the boy’s father was supposed to be looking after him at the time, but instead was out playing the video game Pokemon Go. According to The Guardian, firefighters were called to the scene where bystanders watched in horror as the boy held on for his life. By the time they had gotten there, Gassama had already climbed the building and lifted the boy to safety. The quick ordeal, which lasted less than a minute, was captured on video and has since gone viral.
Gassama arrived in France as an undocumented migrant in September 2017. He had hopes of living a better life in the thriving country. Due to his illegal status, he had no official access to housing or jobs and really had no right to remain in France at all. He was trying to keep a low profile in Paris, but that quickly changed when his face was all over the news following the incredible rescue. Due to his courage and bravery, his wish of having a fresh start in life happened almost overnight.
Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of France, tweeted about a phone call she shared with Gassama following the rescue. She was clear about backing his desire to stay in the country, ‘I told him that his heroic act is an example to all citizens and that the city of Paris will obviously be very keen to support him in his efforts to settle in France,’ her tweet read.
The French President seemingly agreed with that stance. Macron invited Gassama to meet with him at the Élysée Palace to honor him for his bravery. He presented the hero with a certificate and a gold medal for performing an act of courage and dedication. Along with that, he promised Gassama documents allowing him to stay in France. ‘Because this is an exceptional act… we are obviously, today, going to regularize all your papers,’ Macron told him in the filmed meeting, ‘and if you wish we will start nationalization procedures so you can become French.’
According to The Guardian, only a small number of undocumented migrants have their status regularized in France for acts of public service. One to note is Lassana Bathily, who is also from Mali. He was given asylum in 2015 after helping hostages taken by terrorists at the Hyper-Cacher supermarket.
Along with citizenship, Gassama received a job offer from the city’s fire and emergency service. He’s been given a 10-month internship and will receive about $690 a month, according to ABC News. The Paris fire brigade tweeted: “Mamoudou shares the values of the Paris fire brigade. We are ready to welcome him.”
Following the meeting with Macron, Gassama was flooded by cameras and microphones outside of the Élysée Palace. “He gave me a present,” he told reporters about Macron. “It’s the first time I’ve had anything like this. I’m very happy.”