Mr. Ellis owns a private company that provides lifeguards for beaches in some areas in the country. On Monday, one of his lifeguards, acting on instinct, rescued a man who was drowning in an at-risk zone. The reward for the lifeguard, Tomas Lopez? Termination of employment.
Ellis is quoted in an interview in the Orlando Sun Sentinel as saying taht "we are not a fire-rescue operation", and one of his supervisors talked about concerns with liability issues. Give me a break. If you have enough lifeguards to cover the entire beach, including at-risk areas, why would they be so concerned about liability issues?
Answer: It has a damaging effect on the company's bottom line. Well, duh! What a shock. According to Yahoo!, the case is now under review, which means there is a chance that Lopez could get his job back.
What earns Ellis a Dunce Cap is the fact that his private firm and its rules are actually hamstringing their employees and their instincts, borne from their training. Baywatch, this ain't. Consider the thoughts of Renee Crichton, City Manager of Hallandale Beach, where the incident occurred. She believes that "whether they are in a protected area or unprotected area.....aid must be rendered.". Damn straight!
It's time Ellis restructured his contract and opened up the field for his lifeguards to cover the entire beach, not certain parts agreed upon. Those contracts cater to the so-called privileged, not the general public, in this writer's view. Everyone uses the beach, and therefore fall under the jurisdiction of the lifeguards. Methinks Mr. Ellis has had a little too much sunburn on the brain, if you get my drift......