Father of boy who was rescued by incredible 'Spiderman' hero was reportedly playing 'Pokémon Go'
Yesterday, the story of a young man who scaled a Paris building in order to save a child went viral after footage of his superhuman abilities hit the web. The hero was later identified as Mamoudou Gassama, a 22-year-old originally from Mali, who had only moved to France a few months ago in order to begin a new life.
Speaking about his actions, Gassama said, "I just didn’t have time to think, I ran across the road to go and save him. Just climbed up and thank God — God helped me. The more I climbed, the more I had the courage to climb up higher — that’s it."
However, though millions were left impressed by his selfless feat, others were left asking one question: where were the child's parents?
After a brief investigation, law enforcement discovered that boy's mother was actually out of the country visiting relatives in Reunion Island at the time of the incident, but his father - who hasn't been named - was supposed to be home looking after him.
Instead, though, he purportedly went out to play Pokémon Go.
As a result, he was detained overnight by French authorities for parental neglect, and charged with "missing in action".
Speaking to BFM-TV, the prosecutor in the case, François Molins, said: "[The father] took a long time to return home because he had decided to play the smartphone game Pokémon Go when he left the store. He is devastated because he realizes what he did, and the tragic consequences that it could have led to."
Unsurprisingly, this was not the first near-fatal accident to have occurred as a direct result of someone playing Pokémon Go. In fact, in the first five months following the game's release, "gaming-related incidents" increased by 26.5 per cent in areas near Pokéstops.
One academic paper on the topic (named Death by Pokémon Go) elaborated on this, saying that the mobile application caused "a disproportionate increase in vehicular crashes and associated vehicular damage, personal injuries, and fatalities in the vicinity of locations, called PokéStops, where users can play the game while driving."
Of course, in this scenario, the accident was caused as more of an indirect result of someone playing the game - but the point still stands that individuals are willing to put their own or other's safety at risk for the sake of catching a few pixels on a screen.
While the boy's father was being investigated, Gassama himself was being lauded for his quick-thinking and expert athletic skills.
Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of the Paris, tweeted yesterday to say: "Congratulations to Mamoudou Gassama for his act of bravery that saved the life of a child," adding that she had spoken with him over the phone to offer her thanks.
Later on that day, French President Francios Macron met the young hero, and rewarded him for his actions with an honorary French citizenship, a gold medal for "courage and devotion", and a steady job as a firefighter.
So, even though it's awful to hear that this child could have fallen to his death because his father was playing video games, it is at least comforting to know that there are people in the world who are willing to risk their lives for others - and their actions do not go unrecognized.