HAMILTON – Commending his quick thinking, a teenage Syrian refugee has been praised and hailed after he rescued a toddler from Hamilton rooftop.
“My dad parked the car and said ‘If you can help him go help him,'” said Khalid Tabateb, through his older sister Farah who acted as interpreter, CBC reported Saturday.
“I was scared. I didn’t want this little guy to go and die. I didn’t want to just watch.”
Khaled was driving past a King Street East apartment building with his father Wednesday when they saw the child wearing only a diaper squeezed through a second-story window and wandered out onto the rooftop.
Other people from the neighborhood had gathered and were prepared to try and catch the child if he fell.
Khaled jumped out of the car, knocking on the door to alert the parents.
When no one answered, he broke through the screen of a first-floor window, sprinted upstairs and pulled the baby back inside.
“At that point, my heart kind of came out of my mouth,” Navdeep Narula, who watched the rescue from across the road, said. “It was like, wow!”
Khaled, a Grade 12 student at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School, said his main focus was on making sure the baby would not be hurt.
“He loves to help people,” Farah said. “He’s so brave. The whole family — we’re so proud of him.”
Sayed Tora, the Imam of the Muslim Association of Hamilton, also praised the Syrian family, adding that Khaled is active in the community and loves to play sports.
“They’re a really lovely family with bright young kids,” said Sayed, adding the teenager’s actions show bravery.
“They set a good example of the Syrian refugee families who are here to build a life and to build a future for their children and to make Hamilton and Canada a better place.”
Earlier this year, a Malian Muslim immigrant was hailed a national hero in France after scaling a building to save a four-year-old baby.
The hero, Mamoudou Gassama, has also been granted honorary citizenship and a job as a fireman.