A street vendor, in Western news reports named only as Mr Li, caught and saved a one-year-old baby who rolled off the ledge of a second storey window in Xiaolan town, Zhongshan city, Guangdong province, Southern China.
Mr Li’s hands outstretched:
Because the prospect of a baby’s head split open and raspberry coulis coming out ontothe pavement, piddling away in the warm rain, is unthinkable.
Because the promise every infant makes to each one of us, is too big to be allowed to fail.
Man Alive, Alive O! Wholly given over to the baby about to fall, he is the goalkeeper moving to meet the (otherwise) through ball; he is the wise old men in adoration of the Christ child (the last time any of them could have stretched themselves this far); he is young Romeo reaching for Juliet from below her balcony. He is all of these things.
Chicken wings for limbs, angel’s head and a bare bottom – down comes Baby. Mr Li moves into the flight path……
Falling, falling, fallen as he foresaw. But the sudden weight takes him by surprise; struggling not to let go he must swing lo and then arc the baby upwards to a level ofsafety.
He and the infant capsule are only coming to rest when the mother arrives plucking and clutching, cluck-clucking away with the future of the world in her arms.
Describing his actions afterwards, Mr Li said: ‘It was nothing but human instinct to do so.’