Few people would dare to catch an object that weighs 55 kilograms falling from the fifth floor.
But Xie Shangwei, 29, did not hesitate to open his arms when a teenager in his neighborhood dropped from that height in Handian township, Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Friday.
"I was not thinking about anything, but I acted on my instinct to save his life," said Xie, who only suffered minor injuries as a result.
"Every parent in that situation would not hesitate to risk their arms," added the man, who is father to a 6-year-old girl.
The teenager Fu Jiawei's face was stained by blood after the accident. He sustained contusions to the body and vomited when being transferred to hospital.
However, doctors said Fu would be discharged from the hospital in two to three weeks despite bone fractures and cerebral bleeding that is not life-threatening.
Xie, hailed as a "hero" by local residents after the accident, had mobility difficulties because of minor injuries on his tailbone and waist.
The man works in a garment company in South China's Guangzhou city. He had returned to Harbin for Spring Festival.
Wang Lichun, a local publicity official, told China Daily the government plans to nominate Xie as a role model for Shuangcheng city, where the township was based.
Fu's mother said she asked the boy to set off firecrackers that day and then heard a scream soon after. Fu was clinging to the frame of a window, his body dangling outside.
She then grabbed her son's hands while shouting for help.
It was about two to three minutes later that they both became exhausted and let go.
Xie was passing by at the time and acted fast to catch the falling teenager. The force of the impact caused him to immediately black out.
When he awoke, Xie found his jacket zipper had burst open.
A doctor quoted in the Heilongjiang Morning Post said a human being's arms could normally stand 45 kilograms of weight. However, an object falling from that height imposes about 850 kilograms of instantaneous force, the paper reported, using calculations from netizens.
Last July, a woman also caught and successfully saved a 2-year-old girl who fell from 10th floor of a resident in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province.
Online commentators said the courage and willingness to help others shown by these people challenge the claim that morals have deteriorated in Chinese society.
"Such a good deed is a ray of sunshine that warms and encourages us," posted one netizen Wang Xuemei. "I believe virtue will be rewarded."