Usually, when an individual saves another person from drowning, we tend to feel that he or she is a hero. However, this isn’t the case here. A lifeguard in Florida, United States, lost his job after he rescued a drowning man! Yes, you read and heard that right! Why and how did this happen? Read on to find out.

Mr Tomas Lopez, a 21 year old lifeguard, was on duty at Hallandale Beach, north of Miami, on Monday afternoon. The incident first occurred when a beach go-er alerted him of a swimmer who was struggling in an ‘unprotected’ part of the beach. Without any hesitation, Tomas took off to aid the swimmer. ‘It was a long run, but someone needed my help. I wasn’t going to say no,’ said Mr Lopez, quoted by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper and WFOR television on their websites. Eventually, the swimmer was rescued and taken to the hospital, where he remains in intensive care. However, after Tomas went to file an incident report, he was fired because he went 500-meters out of his assigned area.

The duty of a lifeguard is to ensure the safety of those swimming. Yes, Tomas might have went out of his assigned zone, but it is purely to save the life of another. Anyone would have done the same, even the members of the public. Imagine the scenario if Tomas chose not to aid the swimmer. How would the public feel if his response to the beach go-er was “I’m sorry, but I’m not in charged of that area”? Furthermore, he was the most experienced and qualified person to save the swimmer. If some other brave soul would to go to the aid of the swimmer, both of them could end up drowning without the proper techniques. Perhaps there were other alternatives that Tomas could have taken. For example, he could have alerted another lifeguard instead. However, the swimmer who is already drowning, might not have sufficient time to wait.

Yes, as a lifeguard, Tomas has a duty of guarding those who are in his area. However, in situations such as this, a life was at stake. Hence, he shouldn’t have been penalised for his courageous act. What are your thoughts on this issue? We would like to hear from you too!

Happy Fish Swim School offers swimming lessons to the residents in Singapore. We also offer Lifesaving Course for those who aspire to become a lifeguard. For more information on the available classes, check out our website today!