The consequences of your actions

A Florida lifeguard was fired from his job for saving a drowning man .

Sounds like a joke or a mistake or a corporate horribleness.

The truth is that it was the consequence of his action.

His job was to patrol a certain area of protected swim area. He was not allowed, by company policy, to work outside of that area. There were liability issues. That area was designated “swim at your own risk.”

But a man was drowning 300 yards outside the protected area, a frightened woman had notified him, and he could not follow the company policy of dialing 911 and hoping the emergency responders got there in time. He did what he was trained to do and saved the man, who was turning blue by the time he got to him (he’s still in intensive care).

He broke company policy and the company chose to let him go. He went with his conscience and the $8.25/hour job he’d hoped to continue after he starts college in the fall is gone.

That’s the consequence.

But I bet he’s much better able to sleep at night than if he’d followed company policy.

But I can see the company’s point, too. They are in danger of losing their liability insurance if such things were to happen and the company didn’t act. That consequence would put the company out of business and perhaps there’d be no lifeguard at all on that stretch of beach.

There is no perfect.

One of the commenters on the story pointed out that the lifeguard most likely had a Red Cross certification or equivalent. In many places, having such certification and ignoring an emergency situation where your certification can be of use can get you jail time or a fine. Would the lifeguard have been arrested if he’d followed the company policy after being notified of a drowning man? Somehow I don’t think the company would provide a lawyer in such a case, but perhaps that’s what their liability policy is for?

I think the lifeguard made the only choice he could. I understand why the company made the choice they did, even if I don’t like it. I sure hope someone come through with a job for this young man for the rest of the summer and perhaps through the school year.

There are consequences for all we do, even the good deeds. Dick Frances, in one of his books, points out, “You can get a ticket for speeding, even if you are rushing a heart attack victim to hospital.”

If we choose to disregard the laws or rules for the common good, sometimes the deed is punished. But friends, those who do usually sleep much better at night, don’t you think?

About Susan

I am a woman of strong opinion. You can listen or not, but I expect everyone to play nice and respect everyone else's right to have their own opinions. I was never much of a diarist, and I plan for this to be less about my life and more about my observations and information sharing. So let's not call this a "blog," which is a word I find a bit repellent.
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One Response to The consequences of your actions

  1. Susan says:

    Update: Three other lifeguards quit in protest and two others were dismissed after saying they would have acted as Lopez did. “They told us we would be liabilities and we had to be let go,” lifeguard Travis Madrid told CNN.

    The company has offered Lopez his lifeguard position back, but he has turned them down. “It’s another chapter in my life closed and I am just going to continue to get my schooling finished and get on with my career,” Lopez told CNN.

    I think that’s a good move on his part. I think the company, however, is in a world of PR hurt and is scrambling to save itself. See:

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