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****!”

As Dumb As Rocks

, , , | Right | November 20, 2018

(We sell pallets of stone, and sometimes we have to stack them of top of the others when we’re running low on space. A man and his young daughter walk into our office.)

Parent: “Hi! I know it’s an odd question, but can we just walk around and look at your rocks? My daughter is six, and she really loves rocks.”

Me: “Absolutely! No problem at all.”

(Later, I walk outside to speak to a customer, and during our conversation I look around and realize the little girl is SKIPPING from the top of one double-stacked pallet to another. Her father is standing in front of the row of double-stacked pallets, grinning as his six-year-old daughter jumps down the row between the uneven pallets nearly eight feet in the air. I excuse myself from my customer.)

Me: “Sir? Sir! I’m sorry, but she really needs to get down from there!”

Parent: “Aww, really? But she’s having so much fun! I guess it might be an insurance risk for you guys, though, right?”

Me: “Yes, sir. Yes it is.” *thinking* “Do you not like your child?”

Not A Very Relaxing Encounter

, , , , | Right | November 11, 2018

(I lifeguard at a local pool, and one of the rules we have to enforce is no long breath-holding. The reason is that the patrons can look dead. Usually it’s not enforced because the kids are clearly still alive, but not in this case. I notice a woman lying face-down in the water, completely motionless. As I watch her, wondering if she’s unconscious, she sits back up. I hop out of the chair, and walk over to her.)

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am, but I’m afraid you can’t lie face-down in the water like that.”

Woman: “Why?”

Me: “Because from the lifeguard’s perspective you could be drowning.”

Woman: “No, if I was drowning I’d be more relaxed. That’s how you can tell I’m not drowning; I’m not relaxed enough.”

Me: “Well, you looked pretty relaxed from where I was, and I couldn’t properly tell, so—”

Woman: “No, I wasn’t relaxed enough. If I was drowning I’d be all relaxed. Trust me. My friend’s a lifeguard; he knows all about this stuff.”

Me: *wearing my guard shorts, shirt, fanny pack, and whistle, and carrying the rescue tube* “Well, be that as it may, it’s still the rule, so if you didn’t do it anymore, I’d appreciate it.”

(She did stop, or at least, until I rotated out from that chair.)

That Went About As Swimmingly As You’d Expect

, , , , | Right | October 26, 2018

(I work as a lifeguard at a local pool. There is a little boy, about three years old, in the deep end. I wouldn’t be bothered by this, as I passed the test to swim in the deep end when I was only four; however, I have watched him struggle to swim to his mother from the edge, five feet away.)

Me: *calls the boy over, being very polite, and keeping a smile on my face the entire time* “Hey, bub, I don’t think you’re a strong enough swimmer to be in the deep end right now; why don’t you practice a bit more and take the test again?”

Boy: *goes to his mom* “She says I can’t be in the deep end.”

Mom: *holds her now crying child and yells at me* “He passed his test; he can be in the deep end, idiot!”

(My boss, who didn’t see what happened, walks out. They begin to talk, the mom raising her voice a bit.)

Mom: “This is embarrassing, but that girl says [Boy] can’t be in the deep end!”

Boss: “Oh.” *to me* “He passed his test, [My Name].”

(I explain what actually happened. He tells me he’ll talk to the other boss. The other guard talks to me and tells me that’s the same little boy that he pulled out of the pool last year. He tells me that I was right; we switch chairs, as I am crying from being yelled at and the stress of the kid. Twenty minutes after the break is over, the boy has to be pulled from the pool.)

Mom: *while my coworker is pulling the drowning kid out* “He’s fine; he’s okay. Don’t touch him!”

Coworker: “He was drowning.” *to the boy* “Get out for five minutes, and catch your breath, okay, bub?

(The mom grabs her child’s hand and storms over to my other boss, keeping her voice low but glaring at both my coworker and me now and then. I can only hear bits and pieces, but she asks why we are being rude — when both of us were very polite — and being mean to her son. My boss says simply:)

Boss #2: “If that’s what they think, then he shouldn’t be in the deep end. They just had to pull him out.”

(They left, and I didn’t see them for about a month. My mom saw the boy’s name on the swim lessons list: level-one swim lessons for kids who can’t swim.)

That’s How I Roll, Girlfriend

, , , , , , , | Friendly | October 22, 2018

At the time of this story, cell phones were only just booming; Bluetooth was incredibly rare, speaker mode was not a standard feature, and legislation concerning driving with a cell phone was virtually non-existent.

I was driving down the highway in my SUV to meet with some friends at a diner we like. Simultaneously, I was on the phone with my girlfriend. It was a warm spring day, so I had my windows rolled down. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a car that I believed was hugging the lane divider a little too closely. Wary this might be a scammer and given that my exit was still much further, I changed lanes to get away from him. I overshot it and wound up on a collision course with a second vehicle that was hiding in my blind spot, so I sharply turned the wheel the other way to correct it.

Big mistake.

The sudden jerk sent me rolling. I was wearing my seat belt, so all I did while rolling was appreciate my absolute stupidity. Thankfully, everyone stopped when they saw me flip, so I missed every other vehicle during my roll. I then started cursing when I noticed I dropped my phone, having not ended the call with my girlfriend, who thus no doubt heard every sound of the accident.

The moment the SUV stopped, I was out of my seat rummaging around the inside of the car. I had people getting out of their cars coming to check on me, and all I yelled was, “FIND MY PHONE! IT MIGHT HAVE FLOWN OUT THE WINDOW!”

Understandably, that confused everyone.


Thankfully, it was under my seat. Once I had sent the message and calmed down, I realized the SUV had come to a stop right-side-up. The damage didn’t look like much since all the doors and hoods opened and closed normally, and the engine was still flawless. However, I later found out that due to the damage done to the frame, which required tearing apart to fix, it was considered totaled.

Even so, I drove down to meet my friends in my totaled SUV and recounted the whole story. The cherry on top came when we walked out and were assessing the damage. One of my friends yelled, in absolute seriousness, “YOU ROLLED IN A PARKING SPOT?!”