OPEN LETTER: I Can’t Believe The Rude Lifeguard I Encountered Yesterday
I promised my toddler we'd go swimming this week. He has been asking and looking forward to it for about a week and a half. Yesterday I decided to make good on my promise and take him swimming. I think we both needed it.
I looked around and found a place with an indoor pool we could go to. I picked my son up from his grandma's house after work and told him our 'fun adventure' was about to start. I was so happy to see how excited he was.
We stopped home quickly to grab our swimsuits and my husband and then we were off! We got to our destination and the anticipation of fun was building and building!
However, little did we know what a horrible time we were really in for.
We changed quickly into our suits and then went to check out the pool area and look around a bit. We were immediately approached by the lifeguard and told we needed to go back to the changing area and shower. I informed the lifeguard that we already did, but he claimed it wasn't good enough because my hair wasn't wet, even though my suit was. I told him that I wouldn't be going into the pool more than ankle deep to follow around my toddler.
He again told me that I wasn't showered well enough to be in the pool and he asked me to wet my hair in front of him if I wanted to be in the pool. He condescendingly, in a very snarky tone told me that people need to shower before going into public pools. I agree with him, and I did shower. I just thought he was power-tripping big time.
I thought his request was a little ridiculous, but I listened without comment. The rules are the rules after all. But, I did notice people were in the pool with dry hair. Still, I didn't say anything.
My son and I walked over to the kiddie pool. Once we got there we were almost instantly approached by the same lifeguard. He bent down to my son's level and started scolding him about something. I was confused because I hadn't taken my eyes off my son. I didn't notice him doing anything wrong or that violated the pool rules listed on the wall.
He was playing safe and quiet. He was the only child in the pool at the time. My son looked up at me confused as he's not allowed to talk to strangers. I asked the lifeguard what he had just said to my son so that I knew why my child was being scolded.
If he was violating the rules I wanted to be sure he didn't repeat the behavior.
The lifeguard told me that he didn't like how fast he was moving in the kiddie pool. Let me clarify. He wasn't running in the pool area, he was just moving too fast in the pool. Is that even a thing?
I rolled my eyes and asked him if that was really a rule. He said something to me as he walked away. The lifeguard continued to stare at us and I wasn't entirely sure why.
My husband finally joined us in the pool after changing and showering. The lifeguard ran over to us to tell my husband he wasn't 'showered enough', even though his bathing suit was visibly wet. My husband then rang out the bottom of his suit in front of the man. The lifeguard finally decided to let him in the pool.
My husband isn't much of a pool person and didn't plan on swimming. He just wanted to come along and watch our son swim. While my toddler and I were walking around in the pool, my husband decided to have a seat on the ground against the window. The lifeguard again ran over and told him he couldn't sit there.
This all happened within a matter of 10 minutes. We had been chased after a total of four times. It was like he was waiting for a reason to come after us. At that point, I wanted to leave, but I stayed because my son had been so excited and looking forward to it. I felt like we were being followed and yelled at constantly, for nothing. And, we paid to be there.
There was a staff change while we were there. We got a new lifeguard (who was awesome). But, to make things worse, as the nightmare lifeguard was leaving he walked right by a woman who had yoga pants rolled up with her feet in the pool. She wasn't showered and didn't even have a bathing suit on. He didn't say anything to her.
It made the whole experience not fun at all. Instead of letting our hair down and having a fun time as a family, we were constantly wondering if the lifeguard was going to come and yell at us. And, we hadn't violated any of the pool rules.
He was definitely on a power trip. I understand that there are rules and people need to follow them. It's the lifeguard's job to make sure accidents don't happen and that lives are saved. It's a big job. But, what was happening with us was excessive and such an unnecessary power trip.
I wanted to say something to management about it but my husband told me they wouldn't take me seriously and just call me a "Karen".
My husband also said that businesses have been having trouble finding help so they likely won't do anything about it anyway. Frankly, I'm also tired of this being the excuse to treat customers rudely. I've been noticing so much of this lately.
When I calmed down a bit I decided not to say anything at all. Maybe the lifeguard was having a bad day? And, I mean, it is the Christmas season after all.
I'm wondering if I did the right thing? Should I have said something about it, or was my husband right for suggesting we just let it go? I'm clearly still upset about it.
Also, I didn't mean to write a whole book. Thanks for sticking to the end. My family tells me I've got a tendency to speak like I'm trying to hit a word count for a college essay.
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