Tomas Lopez, a very affable 21-year-old lifeguard was working a shift on a beach in Florida when he was told that there was a swimmer in trouble in the water off an unprotected area of beach. So it was that young Tomas ran from his post to assist in the rescue of the swimmer and was promptly fired by his bosses who said that he had put swimmers in his area in danger.
All Tomas could say was, “I wasn’t going to say no.”
However, Susan Ellis from the company that provides the lifeguards said, “We have liability issues and can’t go out of the protected area.” In other words, they are actually suggesting that they should let someone drown if they are ‘over the line.’
As it was, the swimmer was out of the water by the time Tomas arrive, so he helped a nurse who was working on the unconscious man until paramedics arrived.
Since his sacking, at least two colleagues have also quit. And if you really think about it, you can sort of understand where the company are coming from on this, but young Tomas summed up the stupidity of the rule in a later interview, “I think it’s ridiculous, honestly, that a sign is what separates someone from being safe and not safe,” he concluded.