Tomas Lopez, 21, was on duty at his job as a Florida beach lifeguard. A person ran up to Lopez and told him a man was drowning in an unprotected part of the beach. Even though it was outside his jurisdiction, Tomas ran down the beach, swam out, hooked the man with one arm, and successfully pulled him to shore. An off-duty nurse tended to the swimmer until paramedics arrived. The man was taken to a local hospital in critical condition, but alive.
“And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” —Hebrews 10:10
After his incident report came before his superiors, Tomas was informed that violating his area of jurisdiction and saving the man in an unprotected area were grounds for dismissal and he was terminated.
“We have liability issues and can’t go out of the protected area,” his supervisor told reporters. “What he did was his own decision. He knew the company rules and did what he thought he needed to do.”
As the story broke, the company responsible for the lifeguards issued a statement saying that they acted hastily and offered Tomas his job back. But Tomas declined. And as a show of solidarity, nine other lifeguards quit.
“I’m not going to obey such a ridiculous rule,” Tomas said.
Someone called to save lives has no boundaries, regardless of the reasons or risks.
Tomas would rather live with violating a rule and a liability clause than to live with a man’s death on his conscience forever. As our world and its systems get more complicated, there have to be those who are just willing to do what is right—no matter the cost.
SAVIOR, You didn’t come to save us the way everyone expected You to or thought You would, but on Your own terms. Thank You for taking care of sin and death forever and always—for me.