So much for the old adage “one good deed deserves another.”
According to CNN, Florida lifeguard Tomas Lopez helped save a drowning man earlier this week, but instead of being praised for his actions, he was fired for venturing outside of his assigned patrol area.
“They didn’t tell me in a bad way. It was more like they were ‘sorry, but rules are rules,’” Lopez, 21, told the Sun-Sentinel Monday after he went 500 yards outside his beach’s protected area to rescue the drowning man.
The victim, whose identity was not released because of medical privacy laws, was taken to a nearby hospital, where he remained in the intensive care unit Tuesday, the Sun-Sentinel added.
The company that fired Lopez, Orlando-based Jeff Ellis and Associates, justified their actions, saying the 21-year-old’s decision could have potentially put beachgoers in his section in jeopardy.
“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.”
While disappointed at losing his job, Lopez says he would break the company’s rule again if it meant saving a person’s life.
“I’m not going to put my job over gonna help someone again. I’m going to do what I felt what’s right, and I did.”
WTVR reports that after Lopez’ firing, two other lifeguards at Hallandale Beach quit in protest and four others reportedly gave notice.
Former lifeguard Thomas Lopez talks more about his rescue efforts and subsequent firing in the video below:
Readers chime in: Is it outrageous that Tomas Lopez was fired for a rescue attempt outside his designated zone? Sound off below.