When I lived at my last apartment before I bought my house in the US, I had a part time job as the worlds oldest lifeguard at the apartments pool. I was probably about 27 or 28.
The first day the pool was open was a Sunday, this little girl came in wearing her Sunday dress. She came over to my side and started telling me what a good swimmer she was, and that she couldn’t go swimming today, but she was coming tomorrow.
Soo the next day, the pool technically didn’t open for two minutes and the same little girl comes running across the grass in her swimsuit to the fenced swimming pool area. She stopped at the gate and asked if she could come in, and I said yes. She came in and asked if she could get in the water and I told her OK again.
She didn’t hesitate and jumped right in the deep end.
She couldn’t swim a lick.
I looked at her and our eyes met, as she was flailing in the water. My eyes said “Are you really going to drown in my pool?” Her eyes said “Why yes, I am.”
I had the life ring in my hand, and I threw it to her. She grabbed it and was holding on, still kicking like crazy.
She looked at me and raised one arm in a “come get me” gesture. I sat down on the side of the pool and put my feet in the water and said “You’re alright, swim over here” She swam over with the ring and I lifted her out by the armpits and sat her on the side of the pool next to me.
“I thought you were a great swimmer?”
“I thought I was too, I think I forgot.”
I ended up giving all the kids swimming lessons for free all summer…
I loved that lifeguard job in particular. The kids loved me and the parents trusted me. I never had a single problem with any teens or adults (or kids) all summer.
I sometimes wonder where that little girl is today. She would be in her late 20s or early 30s, she was 7 or 8 at the time.
Wherever she is, I’m sure she remembers me. I can’t remember her name, but I think I’d remember if I heard it again.
That day at the pool and that little girl is one of my best memories of my life, and I’m glad to share it here.