WHATEVER happened to common sense?
If you're near drowning and a lifeguard is on duty, it seems logical that you would expect some help.
Earlier this month, however, Tomas Lopez, a 21-year-old lifeguard, saved the life of a drowning man, and he was fired. The rescue occurred at Hallendale Beach, north of Miami.
His supervisor cited liability issues. According to an article by Rene Lynch in Los Angeles Times, the man who was rescued had been struggling in waters about 1,500 feet south of Lopez's designated zone.
It was in an area where people were told to swim at their own risk.
Lopez disregarded the boundary in order to help the man, who then was hospitalized and was reported in good condition.
Some of the other lifeguards reportedly quit in protest about the firing of Lopez.
Outrage on the part of other people throughout the nation followed.
The lifeguard staffing firm did offer Lopez his lifeguarding job back, but he didn't accept the company's offer. No information was available on whether all the lifeguards who quit returned to work for the lifeguard staffing firm.
"They are trying to fix the wrong they did. On a personal level, I just don't want to work for that company anymore," Lopez told the Los Angeles Times writer. "It's not out of spite against the company. I really just want to move on and get another job."
The man was unwise to swim in an area where a risk was involved, but he shouldn't be punished by losing his life because of his foolhardiness.
AS FOR Lopez, he is far removed in time and place from Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin," but he undoubtedly would agree with her reasoning.
The famous author once noted, "Common sense is seeing things as they are; and doing things as they ought to be."