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VIDEO: Baby Falls From Ledge, Is Caught By Man In Street

All he had were his bare hands and one chance. But a man successfully caught an infant who fell from a second-floor apartment's window in southern China this week, making him a hero in Chinese social media after the feat was caught on a surveillance camera video.

The 1-year-old boy apparently had been looking for his mother during a rainstorm and climbed out onto a window ledge. People in the street below noticed and nervously watched — and prepared for the worst — as the child perched on the ledge in Zhongshan, a city in Guangdong province.

A man identified only as Mr. Li in Chinese media reports saved the day, after hustling over from the spot where he had been trying to wait out the rain. And that leads us to think it's a good thing Li didn't have his umbrella with him: If he'd been holding one, he might never have seen the little boy whose life was in peril above everyone's heads.

"I didn't think too much at the time. I was just afraid of failing to catch him," Li said in an interview that aired on China's CCTV-13.

As The Shanghaiist website notes, the video has prompted thousands of comments online. They range from appreciation for Li and the others who helped to critiques of the child's parents.

"I'm glad to see this and I feel more optimistic about our society," one reader wrote.

"Hope the parents won't make the same mistake again," another said.

"I watched it many times and I couldn't help crying," one said.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.