Published on Friday, 10 May 2013 00:00
A lifeguard in Florida was given the sack after he rescued a drowning man in a ‘swim at your own risk’ zone.
Do you sometimes forget what a lifeguard’s job is about? Yeah I get that all the time too. I’ll have you know that besides looking sexy, staring pensively out into the ocean and running in slow motion, they are also required to save swimmers who fail to remember that they are unable to swim. Who would have thought?!
In the summer of 2012, when Florida lifeguard Tomas Lopez, 21, spotted a man drowning, he recalled his fourth duty that does not really come into play very often and saved the victim’s life. Good guy Lopez!
Unfortunately for Lopez, he did not stop to flip open the Lifeguard’s handbook to check the proper protocol because after he saved the drowning victim from the fate of a watery grave, his employer informed him that he was fired for rescuing someone who wasn’t drowning within his allocated zone. When they put up the ‘swim at your own risk’ signs at particular sections of the beach, they damn well mean it.
Yes, Lopez actually lost his job for refusing to allow a man to drown while he watched because he was dying outside his assigned patrol area.
"It was a long run, but someone needed my help. I wasn't going to say no," said Lopez.
Several witnesses had already pulled the drowning man out of the water by the time Lopez arrived. Lopez said that the man appeared to be semi-conscious and had water in his lungs.
Lopez and an off-duty nurse assisted the man in whatever ways they could until the paramedics arrived, after which, Lopez was asked by his boss to fill out an incident report and was then promptly fired for leaving his assigned area.
"They didn't tell me in a bad way. It was more like, they were sorry, but rules are rules," Lopez said. "I couldn't believe what was happening."
Naturally Lopez and everyone non-sadistic in the world disagreed with the absurd decision. Two lifeguards backed Lopez up and were fired for defending him, which subsequently led to four other lifeguards quitting in protest.
Since then, the company (Jeff Ellis Management) has made an apology and has offered Lopez and the other lifeguards their jobs back, but none have been taken.
“I prefer not to work for the company,” Lopez said. “There’s no malice with the company … I’d rather not work there. I wouldn’t want to work for a company that prevents lifeguards from doing their job, saving lives.”
To Lopez’s former asshole boss: Way to go in diminishing faith in humanity, dick.
Check out the video below for the full news.