When Mamoudu woke up on Saturday morning, he had no idea how his life was going to change on that day forever.
He woke up on Saturday an undocumented immigrant and went to bed on Monday a French citizen who would be able to travel to countries like the UK and the US visa-free as soon as he gets his burgundy coloured passport.
He was going about his life like a typical undocumented immigrant who (probably) took that route because he was avoiding the authorities or it was a less expensive route to travel by.
According to him, he heard screams from passers-by, looked up and saw a young boy dangling from a fourth storey balcony.
Mamoudu couldn’t have thought twice before climbing up four floors to rescue the boy – unless you have a death wish you don’t climb up four floors without a safety harness.
If Mamoudu had given it a second thought, he probably would have walked away and left firemen to deal with the situation because if you think about it he had a lot to lose.
Firstly, his life or he could have been seriously injured and unable to work. The only thing worse than being an undocumented immigrant is being a broke undocumented immigrant. No papers, No job, no accommodation, no money to send back home to family members.
Secondly, in situations like that, he would have had to give a statement to the Police and that’s a no-no for an undocumented immigrant. Why would he deliberately put himself in such a situation when even after his heroic act an overzealous Police officer might still consider it a patriotic duty to detain Mamoudu for being an undocumented immigrant?
Thankfully, however, France has one of the most progressive leaders in the Western World today, Emmanuel Macron, who did not only grant him French citizenship but invited him over to the Elysee Palace and promised him a job with the fire service. In European countries firefighters are very well paid.
Mamoudu’s heroism should serve as a lesson to all of us that being selfless has its rewards. Sometimes, it takes forever for it to come and may not even be in material form and there are times the reward comes instantly and in material form.
Secondly, being an undocumented immigrant doesn’t make you less empathetic or humane. As a matter of fact, stigmatizing immigration is the exact opposite of showing empathy.