Wait Until You’re 21 Tall

| NY, USA | Right | September 16, 2016

(This is my third year as a lifeguard at the local town pool. I am currently up on the stand overlooking the dive tank, which is 13 feet deep. A young boy, no more than six years old, walks up to me and this conversation ensues.)

Young Boy: “Mister?”

Me: “Hi, buddy, can I help you?”

Young Boy: “How deep is this?”

Me: “It’s 13 feet deep.”

Young Boy: “How deep is 13 feet?”

(We actually get this question a lot, so I usually compare it to the person’s height to give them a frame of reference.)

Me: “How tall are you?”

Young Boy: *after a couple seconds of intense thought* “Eight.”

Me: “You’re eight tall?”

Young Boy: *after a couple more seconds of intense thought* “Sometimes.”

Me: “Okay. You can’t stand in the water.”

Young Boy: “Oh, okay.” *walks away*

The Devil’s In The Details

| Stoughton, WI, USA | Friendly | September 12, 2016

(I buy a local pool pass for my whole family but they are so busy they never come out with me and my daughter, so I just have friends join me. They are usually male. I never talk about my job and very few people know what I do.)

Me: *to the check in lady* “Three under pass 69.”

Friend: “Seriously?”

(Later I got a text reminding me to pay a bill.)

Me: “I need to pay this quickly. Sorry!” *on phone* “Yes, my Social Security number is [bunch of numbers] 666.”

(I get off the phone and see my friend looking me up and down.)

Me: “What?”

Friend: “You don’t say where you work; you leave for foreign countries all the time! Now your pool pass is 69 and you have 666 in your Social Security number!”

Me: “Yeah? And?”

Friend: “I knew it. You are the devil in disguise.”

Bad Customers Strike More Than Once

| WA, USA | Right | August 5, 2016

(I’ve been working at the same pool as a lifeguard for four years. I am guarding our outdoor pool on a day with weird weather: sunny, 90 degrees, but then thunder crashes in the distance.)

Me: “All right, everybody please clear the pool! There’s thunder in the area!”

Woman: “Are you sure that was thunder?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am! We need to clear the pool because it’s unsafe to—”

Woman: “Yeah, yeah, how long is it going to be closed?”

Me: “30 minutes from the next time thunder sounds.”

Woman: “Fine.” *walks back to her chair*

(We open the pool in thirty minutes with no problem. Ten minutes later, thunder claps again.)

Me: “All right, everybody, please clear the pool! There’s thunder in the area!”

Woman: “How long will it be closed this time!?”

Me: “Another thirty minutes, ma’am!”

Woman: *muttering about my incapability as she walks away*

(Thirty minutes later, I open the pool, but hear thunder. But maybe this time it’s a plane? I’m not quite sure.)

Boss: *over my walkie-talkie* “Lightning strikes! Shut ‘er down.”

Me: “All right, everybody please clear the pool! There’s lightning in the area!”

Woman: “This is unbelievable! How can you not tell the difference between thunder and a plane!? You are completely r*****d! That’s obviously the Blue Angels!”

Me: “Ma’am, I know it’s frustrating, but I have to shut down the pool or run the risk of—”

Woman: “Shut up! I’ll be having a word with your manager about your laziness! Don’t want to guard your pool, is that it?!”

Me: “Ma’am, my manager is the one who told me to close the pool in the first place!”

Woman: “Liar! You just don’t want to have to be responsible for my son if something happens to him!”

Me: “Ma’am, if you have any complaint please take them inside to my manager—”

Woman: “How dare you speak to me this way, b****! I’ll get you fired! It’s the God d*** Blue Angels!”

(As she’s speaking clouds block the sun overhead and it immediately starts raining. We’re both soaked in a couple seconds. Lightning flashes, followed by thunder.)

Me: *turning away from the shocked woman* “Ladies and gentlemen, it is now unsafe to remain on the pool deck! Please exit in an orderly fashion and resume swimming indoors!”

(The woman filed a complaint. I got a small raise.)

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Your Excuse Holds No Water

| CA, USA | Right | July 1, 2016

(I work at a city pool as the head lifeguard. We do not allow flotation devices such as life jackets, foam noodles, puddle jumpers (they go around the upper arms and the chest), etc. A family comes to the pool with puddle jumpers, and are told at the gate that we do not allow flotation devices in our pool. About an hour later, a family comes and has a child in a swimsuit that has built-in floaties in the front and back. We have no control over that so they are allowed. A few minutes later, I see a young girl with puddle jumpers on in line for the diving board. Her dad is with her.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but flotation devices are not allowed in the pool.”

Dad: “She just wants to dive off the diving board and she’ll take them off.”

Me: “Sir, you were told at the gate that we do not allow any flotation devices in the pool. If she cannot swim to the pool on her own or without her floaties, then she should not go off the diving board.”

Dad: “This is ridiculous! This is a stupid rule!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but not all parents are as careful with their children as you are. In the past, we’ve had too many children left unattended in the pool with a lifejacket on and no parent. Many parents expect the lifeguards to be babysitters while they read a book or play on their smartphones and leave their children in the pool. Even though they are wearing a lifejacket, those are not made for swimming but for floating. Some young children can actually get stuck face down in a pool while wearing a life jacket.”

(The dad pulls the little girl out of the line and she proceeds to throw a fit, crying and demanding to go off the diving board. I continue to roam the pool deck. I see this dad talking to a lifeguard up in the chair, then goes to the front gate and talks with the guard working the cash register. I go to the front gate to excuse the guard to rotate to his next station and ask the dad if I can help him with something.)

Dad: “You are a bunch of hypocrites! There is a girl in the shallow end of the pool with her mom and she has a lifejacket on! What are you going to do about that?”

Me: “Sir, this girl is wearing a bathing suit with the flotation pads built in. Do you want me to go over to the mom, tell her that the bathing suit is a flotation device and make her remove it and have her child swim naked?”

Dad: *grumbles something and walks away when I ask an approaching family how I can help them*

(The two other guards told me later that he said the same thing to them, and they both gave him the same answer about making that poor girl swim naked! He called me “Shrek” and told one of the other guards I was being a b****. He has come back two other times and caused trouble by acting childishly and deliberately breaking rules along with his wife. He is now known as the “Shrek” guy.)

Swimming Against The Current

| MN, USA | Right | June 30, 2016

(I work as a lifeguard at a small indoor pool. There are signs posted on the locker room doors stating that all swimmers must wear swimsuits in the pool and it clearly states, “no jeans are to be worn in the pool.” A young man comes up to the office and pays for himself and two girls. He walks over to them and then walks back to the office.)

Customer: “So do you, like, HAVE to wear swimsuits in the water?”

Me: “Yes, you have to wear a swimsuit in the water. We don’t allow swimmers to wear street clothes or jeans in the pool for sanitary reasons.”

Customer: “So, like, even jean SHORTS?!”

Me: “Yes, even jean shorts. Swimmers MUST wear a suit in the water.”

(Customer walks back over to the girls, says something to them, and comes back to me.)

Customer: “Okay, well, we don’t want to go swimming, then. We didn’t know you had to wear swimsuits here. I want my money back. We’re leaving.”

Me: “Okay, let me go get it for you!” *hands customer money back*

(The group walks away, discussing how stupid it is that they would have to wear a swimsuit at a pool. I thought pools and swimsuits went hand in hand? Apparently not…)

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