The hypocrisy in discerning who is faithful

That must have been the professionalism that Jeff Ellis & Associates wanted Tomas Lopez to demonstrate when he was approached by a person asking the lifeguard for assistance on behalf of a drowning man, in Hallandale Beach, FL.  Unfortunately (I guess…) Tomas didn’t “toe the company line.”  Instead he fell victim to compassion and a sense of higher duty, and left his post to rescue a drowning man.

In thanksgiving for his heroism, his Orlando-based employer fired him.  His offense, he chose to rescue a vulnerable man and left his employer vulnerable to law suits.  As his supervisor, Susan Ellis told the SunSentinel, “We have liability issues and can’t go out of the protected area.  What he did was his own decision. He knew the company rules and did what he thought he needed to do.”

In other words, Tomas Lopez should have told those requesting help: “Sorry he’s drowning, but saving him isn’t in my job description.”

Thankfully, Lopez broke that rule and did the right thing.  Now because of the public relations disaster facing Jeff Ellis and Associates, and the potential loss of clientele (including Disney’s brand new Aulani resort in Hawaii), the company has offered Lopez his job back.   Seems like the very money they fired Lopez in effort to protect, will still be lost.  Hmmm…God has a funny sense of humor.

In thinking of this strange story, I reflect upon the parable of the Good Samaritan.  When others of stature within the community, who were able to help, preferred to obey their rules rather than to do the right thing, Jesus held up a despised Samaritan as a model of the Christian Ethic.  Despite not being one who adhered to the Law of Moses, it was the Samaritan who would inherit eternal life…not the priest, neither the Temple assistant.

I’ve recorded a brief video mediation surrounding this event.

When presented alongside the story of this lifeguard, the parable confronts us.  As odd as this event may seem, it still provides some lessons for us.  What would you have done?

It’s easy to say that we would have chosen to save the drowning man over preserving our jobs.  But, I’m sure we’ve all had times on our own jobs where we could have helped – should have helped – but responded: “Sorry…but doing that isn’t in my job description.”  Have you ever said that?  What was the situation?

When we respond that way, what would Jesus say to us?  In this situation, what would Jesus say to Tomas Lopez?  Surely, someone in management within Jeff Ellis & Associates would profess themselves to be Christian.  What would Jesus say about this company’s response?  What do you think of the response?


Comments are closed.

  1. Lilijadore 11 years ago

    Tomas exercised moral responsibility over corporate allegiance. It’s what most of us would have done and it’s what Jesus would have wanted us to do. To your point, the only reason he was offered his job back was to thwart a PR nightmare. I’m glad Tomas rejected their offer because it wasn’t a sincere gesture. They also fired 2 other lifeguards who said they would have acted as Tomas did. So it goes to show that the company felt no remorse, they just didn’t want to be seen as a corporate bully. But it’s too late because we’ve already judged them in the court of public opinion. And they are the weakest link. Tomas – we salute you!

    • Author
      Fr. Jabriel 11 years ago

      Indeed…the weakest link: Goodbye! LOL. We’ll see how companies who use Jeff Ellis & Associates, like Disney, respond to this revelation.

  2. Krim M Ballentine 11 years ago

    our country and people have decided to do the legal right as opposed to the human right mandate by God, incidentally, Jesus – seek the narrow path of Righteousness!

    • Author
      Fr. Jabriel 11 years ago

      Yes, tragically that is indeed the case. Like the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Levite Priest and the Temple assistant both fulfilled the legal obligation – they did what was “right” according to the letter of the Law. However, they did not do what was right according to the Love of God. I guess we can say that’s why Christ’s story shows that the one who would have been considered a “Law breaker” is indeed the one to inherit eternal life?


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