Florida Lifeguard Gets Fired For Saving Man’s Life
July 5, 2012 10:07 AM EDT
Tomas Lopez, 21, found himself unemployed after doing what lifeguards are trained to do, rescue beachgoers from drowning.
Lopez jumped into action after he realized a man, whose identity has not been released due to medical privacy laws, was struggling for air.
"I didn't think about it at all," Lopez told South Florida's Sun-Sentinel. "Someone needed my help. I wasn't going to say no."
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Instead of being commended for his heroic deed, he was given the pink slip for not following company rules. He apparently left his post unattended, a post his company, Hallendale Beach, is paid to supervise.
"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."
However, Lopez did receive support from his loyal co-workers. A few came to his defense, some even quitting in his honor.
"We have liability issues and can't go out of the protected area," said supervisor Susan Ellis. "What he did was his own decision. He knew the company rules and did what he thought he needed to do."
Lopez might have a chance of getting his job back, whether he still wants it is an entirely different subject."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.
As far as regrets for his heroic act, Lopez didn't have any, "It was the moral thing to do. I would never pick a job over my morals," he said.