I couldn’t believe this story about a “former” lifeguard at Hallandale Beach, north of Miami. Tomas Lopez, age 21, was a lifeguard at that beach.
A beachgoer comes running to Lopez to report that a man is drowning in an unprotected area some 500 yards away. So, he runs the distance and manages to save the man, who is reportedly still in serious condition in intensive care in an area hospital.
As for saving the man? Does Lopez get a reward or kudos? No, he gets fired with nothing more than “sorry, those are the rules.” Meaning, that going outside the protected area is a problem because of liability issues!
What are the underlying messages of his firing? First, no good deed goes unpunished. Second, insurance rules are more important than a human life.
Well, I hope Miami area employers who read about this, offer Lopez a better paying job because it is an example of above-average decision-making skills, skills I assume he learned at home and at school.
Well done Tomas. You are a great role model!
Update July 5, 2012: Here is the latest news update explaining that Lopez’s former employer offered his job back (no doubt because of the media coverage) and he declined. One hopes he get a better job offer soon.