Think a lifeguard would get praise for saving a life? Try getting fired. Tomas Lopez, a South Florida lifeguard, went outside his beach's protected area to rescue a drowning man on Monday, and then was fired for that same act, he told the Sun-Sentinel.
"I didn't think about it at all," Lopez said. "Someone needed my help. I wasn't going to say no."
After rescuing and helping the man to safety (the man was later taken to the hospital with water in his lungs), Lopez filed an incident report, and was fired for leaving the protected area of the beach. (Most likely, for the fact that other swimmers could have gotten hurt while Lopez was "away.")
"They didn't tell me in a bad way. It was more like they were sorry, but rules are rules," said Lopez. "I couldn't believe what was happening."
Other lifeguards, however, were reportedly watching the protected area while Lopez went to help the man. The incident has now prompted a review of whether the lifeguard company, Jeff Ellis Management, was justified in their decision in firing Lopez.
"If we find our actions on the part of the leadership team were inappropriate, we will rectify it based upon the information that comes forward," said company owner Jeff Ellis.