When the little swimmer’s head ducked under the waves and didn’t pop right back up his grandmother started running towards the lifeguard station screaming, “My grandson’s drowning, my grandson’s drowning. Help! HELP!!”
The strapping lifeguard scanned the ocean with his binoculars in the direction the hysterical woman was pointing. After a quick moment he spun the spyglass onto his chair, yanked off his sunglasses and pith helmet and jumped off the lifeguard stand, charging into the surf.
Reaching a rough patch of ocean just beyond the cresting whitecaps, the lifeguard dove down again and again, searching for the little boy under the waves. Seeing nothing, his eyes burning from the saltwater, he’d come up for a quick breath and dive back down again, checking the ocean floor for any sign of the boy.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity the lifeguard saw a limp figure crumpled on the sea bottom. The exhausted lifeguard filled his lungs with air and dove down one last time, deeper and deeper, until he was close enough to grab the little boy’s wrist. With a mighty effort he pushed off the sandy bottom and made his way to the top, dragging the little boy and a swirling lacy train of bubbles after him.
Bursting up through the churning sea the lifeguard took another enormous breath and started kicking furiously towards the beach. He fought his way through the undertow until he reached the shallows, cradling the defeated body of the little boy in his arms as he got closer and closer to the beach.
The lifeguard pulled himself out of the water and gently lay the lifeless form of the little boy down on the hot sand. Barely breathing himself, he dropped to his knees and began furiously administering CPR, alternately compressing the little boy’s sunken chest and breathing air into his little lungs.
The sun beat mercilessly on the lifeguard’s back as he attended to the limp child sprawled on the sand. The lifeguard pushed and pressed and huffed and puffed and pumped and pumped but to no avail. Then suddenly after more than ten minutes of labor the small body convulsed as the boy threw up mouthfuls of frothy seawater, coughing and gagging and fighting to sit up.
The lifeguard stood slowly, his knees etched with sand, and picked up the little boy. He walked slowly to where the boy’s grandmother was standing on the beach, stretched out his arms and offered the little boy to her.
“Madam,” the lifeguard said with what little breath he had left, “your grandson is okay. I was afraid we wouldn’t make it but he’s going to be fine.”
The old woman stared wordlessly at the lifeguard and her grandson for a long moment. Finally she arched her eyebrows and opened her mouth to speak.
“He had a hat.”