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Mom Livid After Lifeguard Asks Her Disabled Son To Get Out Of Pool For Mandatory ‘Safety Break’

Photo by Brian Matangelo/Unsplash

People always want to play fast and loose with the rules.

So being a person in charge can often lead to combat.

But you gotta do what you gotta do when you’re in charge.

Case in point…

Redditor A_persin wanted to discuss his story for some feedback. So naturally he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

He asked:

“AITA for telling a parent that her disabled son has to get out of the pool too?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“So for some backstory, I (16 M[ale]) am a lifeguard at a regular neighborhood pool.”

“We have had a problem with some of the residents.”

“So we have had to be more strict with the rules.”

“I was working a regular shift when a kid with special needs and his mother came in.”

“I thought nothing of it and helped them sign in and everything.”

“At our pools we have a rule that for the last 10 minutes of the hour are a safety break.”

“Everyone, no matter who you are has to get completely out of the water for these 10 minutes.”

“When I was in training, we were told that no matter who or what someone is, they are to be treated the same as everyone else.”

“With this in mind I went up to the mom and asked her to get her son’s feet out of the water.”

“She proceeded to lecture me in a condescending tone on how he should be able to stay in the water because he had severe cerebral palsy and autism.”

“She brought up the point that it would be too dangerous to take him out of the water for a 10 minute long break.”

“It’s probably important to mention that we have a special chair that lifts and lowers into the water for situations like this when needed.”

“I informed her that the rules applied to everyone, and would be willing to give my supervisor a call if she wanted me to.”

“She then spent about 5 minutes arguing over the phone about how her son deserved some leniency.”

“The issue is being passed to the higher ups to decide what to do.”

“My coworker tells me that it was unnecessary but my supervisor agrees with what I did.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.

It’s a tricky situation.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA. You were told no exceptions.”

“She wanted an exception granted and you escalated it to an appropriate authority without being rude.”

“Textbook handling, bravo.”  ~ FirmlyThatGuy

“Plus she’s lying.”

“There is no reason why a diagnosis of cerebral palsy or autism would prevent someone from getting out of the pool for ten minutes.”

“Hell, I’m willing to bet there’s no diagnosis that would have repercussions for getting out of the water for ten minutes unless you were a mermaid.”  ~ ICWhatsNUrP

“I am wondering if by too dangerous she meant ‘will have a meltdown.'”

“I don’t think that’s a good reason to not obey safety rules, but could be she was wanting to avoid one.”

“Could also just be entitled, hard to tell.”

“OP, NTA.”  ~ Lilitu9Tails

“I’m severely physically disabled and regularly use pool chairlifts.”

“Lifeguards get into the pool to manually check that you are securely strapped into the chairlift before operating it to ensure that you can’t fall out.”

“This boy’s mother is setting a dangerous precedent by insisting that neither she nor her son should have to obey the lifeguard’s commands.”

“Depending on how attentive the mother is, the severity of her son’s disabilities, and how self-aware he is, having him in the pool puts him at greater risk of injury.”

“And may put other swimmers at risk as well.”

“Ignoring the lifeguard’s commands could lead to disaster.”  ~ Fantastic_Nebula_835

“NTA. You’re a lifeguard, and as the name suggests, lives are literally at stake.”

“You have to follow the safety rules you are given to the letter, not only because they were written by experts.”

“But also because if anything goes wrong you could get sued.”

“If someone wants to argue about this they can talk to your supervisor.”

“You did the right thing.” ~ dreamingpotatoes

“NTA… you did the right the thing.”

“Honestly, it wasn’t your place to decide that there was exceptions to be made for some people.”

“Where would it end?”

“Would you be judge and jury on who all got exceptions?”

“You did the right thing by getting your manager involved.”

“I am a little concerned for your coworker having an attitude that seems to be conflict avoidant as a lifeguard.”

“you are going to have lots of conflict with entitled people.”

“And you need to be able to hold firm and be polite and appropriate while doing so.”  ~ ACorania

“NTA. As An autistic person myself, you never use Autism as an excuse.”

“Yes, the rules apply to everyone including him and his caretaker.”

“And the reason why they’re there is to keep everybody safe including him and his caretaker.”  ~ Bitbatgaming

“My child is autistic.”

“I would never refer to myself as an autism mum as I’m Not autistic myself and my daughters dx is hers and hers alone!”

“Regardless of her disability rules are rules and if they are clearly stated then she ought To have known better by attending in the first place. NTA.”  ~ loops8800

“NTA. I think you were right to treat everyone equally.”

“And from reading how you approached I believe you were more on the considerate/polite side.”

“That lady was not very polite in my opinion.”

“However, I do understand the hardships that she’s facing, because one of my child is autistic.”

“I spent a lot of $$$ sending him to get water therapy so that he can float and swim to some degree.”

“I used to go into the pool with my son and stayed in arms reach, in regular pool.”

“When it was time for break, I brought him out of the pool.”

“In other words, in my opinion it was her job to make sure her son take the rest and follow the rules.”

“Just FYI, I can get a fast-pass in a theme park for not only my child and for the whole family.”

“But my wife and I chose not to get the free fast-pass.”

“Because we thought waiting in-line like anyone else was another practice that my child has to learn.”  ~ haanul

“In what universe is it ‘dangerous’ to take him out of the water?”

“She simply doesn’t want to follow the rules and is making up excuses. NTA.”  ~ He_Who_Is_Right_

“Attorney here. NTA. You are just following the rules.”

“If the rules violate disability law and the rules should allow an accommodation under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), that’s not on you.”  ~ 1biggeek

“NTA. You were following the rules that have been put in place for safety.”

“You did the right thing by acknowledging you don’t have the authority to make that call, and calling someone who did.”

“Honestly, I think the rule’s ridiculous if you’re not even allowed to dangle your feet in.”

“But I hope there’s a good reason for it, and it’s still not your call to make.”

“Let the boss be yelled at.”  ~ EffableFornent

“Okay all the discussion about whether his disability is grounds for an exception DO NOT CHANGE the fact that you’re a 16 year old lifeguard.”

“You’re -16- and following the rules and when the rules maybe don’t work for a customer you escalated it to someone who can make more of a judgement call on it.”

“YOU are absolutely NTA.”

“You’re a kid with a Sumner job doing the best he can.”

“Maybe your supervisor is an asshole depending on the outcome, I don’t know.”

“But YOU are not.” ~ veryfillorian

“Do you own the pool? No. Are you a manager at the pool?”

“No. Do you have any say whatsoever in making the rules at the pool?”

“No. You are a peon, working a crappy job, probably for a crappy wage.”

“You are given a list of rules, and expected to follow and enforce them.”

“As of right now, your rule says EVERYONE, WITH NO EXCEPTIONS must get out of the pool.”

“You were doing your job. NTA.”

“‘Customers’ like her are the reason that nobody wants to work retail or fast food.”

“Because they yell and scream at the service person like they have any input in the policies they are following.”  ~ Zestyclose-Page-1507

“Former lifeguard to rich folks here.”

“If you let her kid stay in the water because of his condition, every kid that belongs to that pool is suddenly going to be special needs and on the spectrum .”

“And declaring it is unsafe to take them out.”

“The break is also to give the lifeguards a break from watching everything.”

“Now you will have to keep watching everything during that break.” ~ TimLikesPi

Well OP, you have Reddit by your side.

You did your job as you were trained to do.

People need to understand the rules apply to all.

Keep doing you.