Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Don't Expect Gratitude When You Save A Life.




I ran to the edge of the pool ready to jump in after a child that was clearly struggling in the water.

Just as I reached the edge I was greeted with "hay calm down!"

I glanced in the direction of the voice to see an adult male approaching me clearly trying to ward me off. He'd had his back to the child but must have seen me running and turned around.

Presuming he was the child's carer I said:"your child is in distress sir you need to attend to her and stay in arms reach". 

The child began to cry.

A good sign. It means that she has found her footing and is not drowning. Still her bottom lip is still touching the water so I need to get her head higher.

"Look you've scared the sh*t out of her. Back off" said the carer.

"Sir" I said: "your child is in distress. You need to attend to her.
"You need to change your attitude"; he said.
"Sir get in arms reach and stay in arms reach or I'll order you out of the pool"; I said.

By this point I had called the duty manager who attended and proceeded to say all the same things to the carer. She also did a very wise thing and told me to go and fill out an incident report. I was very upset and she could tell. She knew that it would give me the space to cool down. Not to mention that it had to be done anyway.

But why wouldn't I be upset. A child was in the water in front of me in distress, but to go in after her would put me at risk with the father.

Finally the carer, who by this time had made it clear he was the child's father, picked up the now screaming child and left the pool.

The necessary goal had been achieved. But at such a cost.

And this is by no means the only time this has happened to me.

I have said before that I am constantly amazed at how much more important a parents pride is to them than the safety of the child. So I have come to a conclusion. One that I'm sure other life guards have also come to but new life guards and perhaps even swim teachers might consider:

Form now on whenever I go to rescue someone's child I will go expecting to be abused. That way I can be prepared for it if it happens. And if I'm not it will be a nice surprised.

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