Not Exactly Swimming In Apologies

, , , , | Friendly | October 19, 2018

(I work as a lifeguard for a subdivision pool. It’s a quiet job and usually uneventful. To have access to the pool, the subdivision members pay a fee to their homeowners’ association. The association then issues the members keys which are scanned to unlock the front gate. The association has hired the company that I work for to supply lifeguards during pool hours. The lifeguards have no control over the workings of the keys and have been told strictly by our supervisors and the HOA that the lifeguards are not allowed to let anyone in if their card is not working. Usually members who cannot get in understand and go talk to the HOA, but not everyone is as polite. One woman and her small child, no older than five, come to the gate and, after struggling to open the gate, call me over. I can’t easily leave my post as the lifeguard, since I am the only person working, so I try to talk to her from my stand. My back is to her, so this is difficult.)

Woman: “Hey, can you open the gate for me? My brand-new card isn’t working.”

Me: “I am sorry, ma’am, I cannot. I have been told by my supervisor, the lifeguard company, and the subdivision HOA that I am not allowed to open the gate for anyone whose card is not working. You will have to talk to someone involved in the HOA about the faulty key.”

Woman: “Come on! I just got this card yesterday! It’s not my fault it isn’t working; just let me in!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m only allowed to watch and protect the pool area.”

Woman: “And what am I supposed to tell my daughter? I promised her we would go swimming today!”

(I look at the child, who seems uncomfortable with the temper tantrum her mother is throwing.)

Me: “I would tell her you can’t get in because the key isn’t working and that you are going to talk to the HOA to fix the problem.”

Woman: *talking to her child* “Let’s go, sweetie! WE CAN’T GO SWIMMING TODAY BECAUSE THIS B**** WON’T LET US IN!”

(She drives away, and I happily go sit at my stand with my back to the gate. About forty minutes later, I hear the gate unlock, and the same mother-daughter duo have come back. The woman lets out an uncomfortable laugh before saying:)

Woman: “So funny. I actually grabbed my old key from last summer instead of the new one I was issued.”

(I just sat there waiting for her to say something else, but no apology was ever given to me.)

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