22-year-old Malian “Spiderman” Mamoudou Gassama, who has been praised for saving a child hanging from a balcony, took his first step toward French citizenship on Tuesday a he joined the fire brigade.
Video footage of Gassama scaling four storeys of the building with his bare hands has catapulted the young man to global fame, and earned him the promise of citizenship from President Emmanuel Macron.
Wearing white sweatpants and a black cap, the hero of a rescue video viewed by millions of people appeared slightly overwhelmed by the media furore as he filed his application for legal residency in the Paris suburb of Bobigny.
Hailing the bravery of the youth who had been living in France illegally, the head of the local authority, Pierre-Andre Durand said;
“How can anyone fail to be impressed by what he did, not admire it?
“He helped someone in danger, which is not such a common thing in our society.”
Gassama became an overnight sensation after the video of him plucking a four-year-old boy to safety Saturday went viral.
On Monday he was honoured by President Emmanuel Macron with a medal for bravery, the promise of citizenship and the offer of a job with the fire service.
Gassama arrived in France via Italy and the perilous Mediterranean migrant route.
The athletic Malian also visited a fire station to sign up for a 10-month internship with the Paris fire and rescue services, expected to pay close to 600 euros ($690) a month.
The family of the young boy he saved thanked him Tuesday for his quick thinking.
The boy’s paternal grandmother, who like his mother lives in Reunion, told RMC radio Tuesday that she was “very moved” by the images of the rescue and sent “huge thanks” to Gassama.
“He’s really a hero,” she said. “He did not stand by and watch, he saved my little sweetpea.”
Reacting to Gassama’s intervention on Antenne Reunion radio she said: “We can only thank him and thank heaven he was so reactive.”
“Things could have turned out much worse so I am relieved,” she said, adding that she was impatient to be reunited with her son and husband.