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.)

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