Lifeguard loses his job for saving a drowning man not covered by corporate guidelines

As lifeguards are paid and trained to do, Tomas Lopez rushed down the beach to rescue a drowning man — and then got fired for it.

The problem: Lopez stepped out of the beach zone his company is paid to patrol, a supervisor said Tuesday.

“I ran out to do the job I was trained to do,” said Lopez, 21, of Davie. “I didn’t think about it at all.”

At least two other lifeguards have quit in protest…”What was he supposed to do? Watch a man drown?” asked one, Szilard Janko…

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.

Lopez became a lifeguard four months ago after passing the company’s requirements, which include swimming and physical exams. The job pays $8.25 an hour…

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.”

This is so much of what life and work in America has become.

A service provided by local government is outsourced to a for-profit corporation. The first thing that happens is that pay is cut. The second thing is corporate lawyers on retainer rewrite regulations to cover liability. Responsibility for corporate dollars is more important than anything else.

Especially a human life.

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