I was appalled when I watched the news recently and saw that a lifeguard in Ft. Lauderdale, FL was fired – not terminated, but fired- because he saved a life out of his “zone.”

So let me explain further. Tomas Lopez was a lifeguard on duty when he noticed that a person was struggling out in the ocean, a section of the ocean that was outside of his lifeguard boundaries. Tomas called for his coworkers to cover for him and he immediately went to help save this person’s life. Policy was that if it’s outside of your area, call 911. He was FIRED the same day.

What a crock! Who cares about rules when a life is in danger? It seems to me that he covered his station, made sure that the beachgoers he was overseeing were being watched, and did the right thing. Saving a life is worth getting fired over. Two other lifeguards were fired for supporting Tomas’s actions and an additional four lifeguards resigned in a show of support. All were offered their job back after the story broke, but Tomas declined the position to “focus on school”- and who could blame him.

Thank goodness that when it comes to impacting and saving lives outside of our jobs, there are no “sections” that we have to deal with. According to the company that hired Lopez, Jeff Ellis Management, he was fired over the rule violations and the possible liability concerns that could result in a lawsuit.

Sign me up. I will break every rule, jump through hoops to help a hurting person. As humans, I think that our greater liability is the fact that a man could have died in the ocean while others were watching him struggle and not acting due to lifeguard boundaries. When we have the chance to save a life, we act simple and plain. Or at least that’s my take on the situation, but then again I usually choose to act with my heart when there is a life on the line.

In addition to possibly losing a life to the waves, it would appear we lost a lifeguard who was willing to do whatever it took to help someone in need. Hopefully Tomas returns to his Good Samaritan nature and Jeff Ellis Management acts a little more cautiously in the handling of their employees. This story comes across with negative tone, but in the end a crisis was averted- let’s not forget!

What about you, what is your position on this situation?