Her Parenting Holds No Water

, , , , , , | Right | December 5, 2018

(I am a lifeguard at a pool only about a half-mile from my house. You need to live within the township to go in, but some days in the summer you can pay a fee for a day-pass and swim. Usually nobody who pays a day-pass fee causes problems, even though they aren’t “members.” A mother and her son come to the pool, and her son can’t be older than five or six years old. She continues to read a magazine on the side of the pool and pay no attention to her son, who is trying to hold three different oversized water guns and tread water. I repeatedly jump in and pull him back to the shallower water to prevent him from going under, and his mother never takes notice of me jumping from my tower and pulling her son, about three times. Finally, I warn him.)

Me: “If you go past this line—” *pointing to the four-foot line* “—and I have to jump in again, you’re going on the bench until I say so.”

Boy: “But why?! I keep drowning and you always save me.”

Me: “You’re not drowning; you’re sinking because you won’t let go of your super soakers. I have to watch other people in the pool; I can’t keep ignoring them to drag you back to the shallow end.”

(His mom notices I am talking to her son outside of the pool and comes up to me.)

Mom: “What is the problem? Why are you yelling at my son?”

Me: “Ma’am, I wasn’t yelling at him. I have had to repeatedly jump in and pull him to safety because he will not let go of those guns and allows himself to sink underwater. I cannot continue to save someone who should not need saving.”

Mom: “That’s your job! He’s just a little boy!”

Me: “I know that, ma’am, and he can have the guns in the pool as long as he doesn’t squirt anyone in the eyes with water. But I have about forty other people to watch, and if someone or some child’s continuously risky behavior can be prevented so other patrons are safe, I will do what I have to and bench your son.”

Mom: “You cannot punish him; I am his mother! He is a good boy! You are just lazy and rude! I am going to file a complaint!”

Me: “Go ahead, ma’am. I have already made a report of these incidents and informed the head lifeguard. The aquatics director hired me personally from my lifeguard class. and I have over twenty recorded saves this year alone. As far as they’re concerned. I am an asset and you are a liability. Sorry to be blunt, but my job is not customer service.”

Mom: *somewhat awestruck at my audacity* “HOW DARE YOU?! I am a paying customer, and my son can do as he pleases! He isn’t hurting anyone!

Me: “Ma’am, if you would prefer to take him to a pool where the lifeguard will let him drown in four feet of water because he won’t let go of toys, that is your prerogative. My biggest concern is safety, and your son is unsafe.”

(The little boy and his mother make their way to the lifeguard shack, adjacent to the front entrance, where my boss, the head lifeguard, is waiting… and smiling. I get back up on my stand, nod to the other guards on duty, and continue watching the pool. Out of my peripheral vision I can see her swinging her arms wildly and screaming at my boss, who is standing his ground with his arms folded… still smiling. She leaves, and my boss comes up to my stand.)

Boss: “Hey, [My Name], do you know who that was?”

Me: *still watching the pool* “No, who?”

Boss: “That was [Aquatic Director]’s girlfriend; she wants you fired.”

Me: “Seriously?”

Boss: “Yeah, you’re fired. Aaaaaaand you’re hired. What a b****!”

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