He saves a life but is fired: an indignant city supports him and the lifeguard has his revenge
Can you lose your job for saving a life? It seems absurd, yet this is what happened to the young lifeguard Tomas Lopez: the boy was on duty at Hallandale Beach, Florida, when a bather ran to him, warning him that someone was drowning in the sea. As expected from his work, Tomas rushed to help the man. When he reached the man, some people had already brought him ashore. He was struggling to breathe, but Lopez and a nurse assisted him and took care of him until the paramedics arrived.
Lopez did, in an emergency situation, what he should have done and never expected what happened shortly after: he was fired because the boy should not have "left his assigned patrol area", endangering the other swimmers at Hallandale Beach. From there the city and his colleagues indignantly asked themselves: what should Tomas have done? Should he have looked on a man in danger and done nothing so as not to leave the area he was assigned?
The supervisor of Jeff Ellis & Associates, the company that provides rescue services, said there are liability issues and lifeguards are not permitted to leave their designated protected area. What Tomas did was outside his area of expertise, he knew the rules and should take responsibility for what he did. Lopez's dismissal drew sharp criticism and two other lifeguards, in protest, decided to quit. Faced with this pressure, the company offered Lopez and his colleagues their jobs back but they refused.
Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper then invited Lopez and his colleagues as special guests to an event in their honor. On that occasion, the mayor also announced that she would no longer rely on that company for rescue services, and the company later apologized. But, during the event, Lopez got his revenge and his well deserved recognition: all the people stood up and cheered when the mayor handed Lopez the keys to the city. A person wishing to meet the lifeguard participated in that event: the man whose life he saved, to say thank you. Tomas teaches us an important lesson: you have to do what you think is right, regardless of the consequences that you will have to face. All the other lifeguards would have done the same thing. Are the rules worth more than the life of a person in danger?