Lifeguards are trained to play the role of hero when they see a person having trouble in bodies of water. They are also trained to understand a strict set of rules and procedures. Theoretically, if we were lifeguards and we saw someone drowning outside our designated area, many of us would still traverse into the foreign territory to do our jobs. However, according to Florida company Jeff Ellis Management, we would be wrong.

On Monday, lifeguard Tomas Lopez was minding his own business on the beach when he saw a man drowning in an area of water marked with signs stating swimmers were heading into the water “at their own risk”. The 21-year-old immediately sprang into action, pulling the man out of the water and getting him to the hospital, where they worked to remove water from the man’s lungs. Afterward, Lopez followed procedure and filled out an incident report, a report that cost the young man his job.

Jeff Ellis Management, the company who hired Lopez to protect lives, later stated there are many “liability issues” related to protecting people in the water outside the zoned area. According to People, Lopez, however, would take the pink slip again.
"It was the moral thing to do. I would never pick a job over my morals.”

Liability issues can suck and companies are responsible for their employees, but firing someone for saving someone else’s life is hardly the acceptable answer. This may be time for Jeff Ellis Management to take a look at and revamp the company’s policies in a way that protects the patron alongside the employee, because if not, the company might find themselves very much like Lopez—out of a job.

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