Tomas Lopez, a Florida lifeguard, saved a drowning man earlier this week and was fired for doing so. His crime? Leaving his designated area to perform the rescue. The Sun-Sentinel reports:
Company officials on Tuesday said Lopez broke a rule that could've put beachgoers in his designated area in jeopardy. The firm could ultimately have been sued, officials said.
"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 said he was sitting at his post at about 1:45 p.m. Monday when someone rushed to his stand asking for help. Lopez said he noticed a man struggling in the water south of his post. The man was previously swimming in an "unprotected" stretch of the beach, city officials confirmed Tuesday.
"It was a long run, but someone needed my help. I wasn't going to say no," he said.
But there is a silver lining. As ABC News reporter Matt Gutman notes in the nearby video clip, "In this collision beetween common sense and bureacracy, common sense is winning out." You see, after Lopez was fired his fellow lifeguards quit in protest, so the company is now reconsidering its decision.
Tuesday, Lopez acknowledged breaking a rule, but said he would do it again if the situation called for it.
"It was the moral thing to do," Lopez said. "I would never pick a job over my morals."
And with that comment, my friends, Tomas Lopez sums up the America that I know and love.