A migrant from Mali lauded as a hero for scaling an apartment building in Paris to save a young child dangling from a balcony will be rewarded for his “exceptional act” with papers to legalise his stay, French president Emmanuel Macron said.
He said 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama will also be given citizenship if he wants and a job as a firefighter.
“Bravo,” Mr Macron said to Mr Gassama during a one-on-one meeting in a gilded room of the presidential Elysee Palace that ended with the awarding of a medal from the prefecture for “courage and devotion”.
Mr Gassama’s feat went viral on social media, where he has been dubbed “Spiderman” for climbing up five floors, from balcony to balcony, and whisking a four-year-old boy to safety on Saturday night as a crowd screamed at the foot of the building in Paris’ northern 18th district.
The young man said he has papers to legally stay in Italy, where he arrived in Europe after crossing the Mediterranean after a long, rough stay in Libya.
However, he wants to join his older brother, who has lived in France for decades.
Mr Gassama, dressed in blue jeans and white shirt, recounted his experience which took place at around 8pm on Saturday when he and friends saw a young child hanging from a fifth-floor balcony.