Thanks to the invention of the Internet, we are constantly treated to interesting videos and stories of all kinds at all hours of the day, whenever we want. We get to see funny cat videos, harrowing police standoffs, and sometimes, daring rescues.
This is a story about one brave man who saw something happening and quite literally jumped into action to save the person in danger. Thanks to the Internet, the whole thing was caught on video for all to see…
Fire crews in Paris had been called to the scene because something terrible was happening at a downtown apartment building. They mobilized a number of trucks and crashed their way through the city until they arrived at the scene to find that their work had already been done for them.
Out of Reach
It seemed that the crisis which had called them to the apartment building had been averted. Not only that, but the child whose life had been in danger was completely fine, if a bit shaken up by the experience. So what had happened to the child in the apartment and what had caused them to be saved by an amateur rescuer?
It began earlier in the morning, a crowd of terrified onlookers had gathered around the front of the building. They were shouting up at the balcony at something dangling. Even from the street, anyone could tell that the dangling thing was a child who had wandered too far out onto the balcony and fallen, barely catching himself.
Mamoudou Gassama had only just moved to Paris from his home country of Mali a few years before. Though he was not a citizen yet, he had come to love the city and its people. He was walking along the street when he saw the crowd gathering. He asked an onlooker what was happening and was shocked to learn that a child had fallen off the balcony and was hanging on for dear life…
Mamoudou looked up at the dangling child and knew that the neighbors trying to reach him were not going to be able to grab hold fast enough. Without a moment’s hesitation, he ran to the side of the building and began to haul himself up towards the balcony with his bare hands at astonishing speed.
He hadn’t even given it a second thought, he knew that if he didn’t go and go then, the child might fall before the echoing fire trucks in the distance made it to the building. Make no mistake, Mamoudou was terrified. He didn’t know if he would even make it in time, but he had to try to rescue the child…
Upper Body Strength
Now, I’m sure you can assume that the amount of upper body strength needed to scale the side of a building, up four floors, in less than 30 seconds is, for lack of a better word, prodigious. Well, 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama clearly had that prodigious strength and it carried him swiftly towards the crying child.
Mamoudou climbed from balcony to balcony, moving steadily towards the four-year-old. Finally, exhausted from his own exertion, he grabbed the boy’s arm and pulled him back to safety. A moment later and the two walked into the apartment, closed the balcony door, locked it, and waited for the paramedics to arrive…
As he and the boy waited for emergency workers, Mamoudou’s adrenaline finally got the better of him. He could hardly stand for the dizziness he felt and had to sit down. As he sat in the living room, he began to shake. He was glad he’d saved the kid, that everything was ok. He couldn’t believe what he’d done.
Mamoudou’s daring rescue was caught on video by onlookers, and before long the “Spider-Man of Paris,” as he would come to be known, would become a viral sensation all across the Internet. The incident was viewed millions of times across a number of news outlets and Youtube. But it also raised a number of questions…
Paramedics came in soon after and examined both the rescuer and the child. It was a miracle, but other than a torn fingernail and a bit of a scare, the four-year-old was fine. Mamoudou walked away with a few minor cuts. The question remained though, where were the boy’s parents in all this?
The apartment at the 18th arrondissement in Paris had been vacant of anyone but the child when Mamoudou brought the crying four-year-old back in. Apparently, the boy was at home alone when the whole situation emerged. When his dad returned home and was told what had happened, he was of course questioned by the police as to where he’d been…
Where Were His Parents?
The viral Spider-Man rescue video had all the world asking the same question: Where were the parents? Well as it happened, his father had left his young son home to go shopping. That’s right, he’d left his four-year-old son at home, unattended for what could have been upwards of an hour.
The man went to the store as he planned, got what he needed and then, instead of coming right back, he decided to make a quick stop. As to why he thought this would be a good idea, we may never know. What we do know is what he was doing when his errant errand took him away from his very vulnerable son…
Stop to Play
The father had decided to take some time to himself to play Pokémon Go, a mobile game that achieved viral fame when it was released in 2016. The game requires you to wander around in the real world, tracking and catching the digital monsters by using your phone’s GPS location to locate nearby Pokemon.
Pokémon Go also uses your phone’s camera to show Pokémon on screen atop the actual background. It makes them appear as if the creatures are in their real world. The game was an instant success and was downloaded over 500 million times before 2017. Of course, it was also fairly addictive: addictive enough to even distract normally-attentive parents…
Since its inception, many a wandering Pokemon trainer has found themselves walking into poles, ditches, or even crashing their car whilst on the search for the digital critters. People who play the game have been known not to pay attention to their surroundings, or in the case of the boy’s wayward father, their responsibilities.
Though the game has declined in popularity over the years, it still claims the occasional addict. The four-year-old’s father now faces up to two years in prison for child endangerment. It seems a fitting punishment for someone who thought more of his digital pets than his actual child. As for the real world Spider-Man…
A Fine Reward
Mamoudou Gassama’s heroic actions got him an invite to the palace to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron. Though he showed up to the meeting in jeans and a flamingo-printed shirt, Macron was no less impressed by his bravery and awarded him not only the national hero award with a medal for bravery, but also offered to make him an official French citizen.
Join Their Ranks
Mamoudou has also been offered a job in the fire brigade thanks to his quick thinking and obvious skills. President Macron was so impressed by his actions that he posted their meeting on Facebook saying, “Paris fire brigade would be keen to welcome him to their ranks.”