Lifeguard Fired for Rescuing Drowning Man [VIDEO/POLL]
Tomas Lopez took on the job of a lifeguard to guard the lives of people at his beach -- and, of course, save a life if the need arose. Well, that need came to light, but after Lopez did his job, he was fired.
Lopez, who was a lifeguard at Hallandale Beach, Fla., was fired because he saved a man "outside of his coverage area." As Lopez explains it in the video below, he and two other lifeguards oversaw a certain area of beach for their employer, Jeff Ellis Management, and when he saw a man drowning outside of the area Jeff Ellis works with, he raced to save him -- only to lose his job in the end.
Apparently the lifeguards had strict instructions not to leave their zone, but Lopez did so when he saw a man in trouble. It was the second rescue he performed in the four months he had worked as a lifeguard.
Six of Lopez's co-workers left their job after he was fired, saying they would do the same thing.
Jeff Ellis, the owner of the company contracted to patrol the beach, spoke to ABC News about the situation. Here is what they reported:
Ellis, speaking from Houston, said that if he thinks the company acted in error, he may offer to reinstate Lopez, should he decide to come back. He said he would extend an invitation to any of the lifeguards who resigned to return to work, adding that they were not fired.
"This event caught me by surprise just as much as it did everyone else," said Ellis. "We're reviewing everything that has occurred, and we will either concur with that or we will override what happened based on what we find out."
Ellis said that he received conflicting accounts of what occurred on Monday afternoon when Lopez left his chair to save a man down the beach who appeared to be drowning.
"If he left his chair and we had a beach full of people and they were left unprotected, that would be one thing," he said. "If he left his beach and another guard immediately took over and covered so that the beach was protected, that would be an entirely different thing."
There is a chance Lopez could get his job back after all this has gone public, but he told ABC News he wouldn't go back given the chance.
"Now that [the firing] is public, they want to fix it. That's shady to me," Lopez said. "If I never said anything, they never would have acted."