The Lifeguard
Transformation Magazine|Embrace Change, October 2017

Some years ago, on a visit to Southeast Asia, my friends and I ended up on a sleepy little Malaysian island called Lankawii. When we arrived at the boat dock on this island, a lady in a business suit came up to us and said, “Would you like to go to the Sheraton resort?” Evidently, they had just opened the resort, and were looking for Westerners to find out about the place, so we were being asked to stay for free.

J. Jaye Gold

The place was truly outrageous. It was magnificent—swimming pools, tennis courts, everything. They even had brand new windsurfing equipment with all the latest gear. I had been windsurfing for a couple of years, and was capable of doing pretty well if the conditions were okay. The people in charge of the equipment didn’t even know how to put it together, so they were thrilled to have us show them how it worked.

Later that day, I was standing on the balcony of our chalet watching a guy pick up a windsurfing rig and head out into the water. The way he was handling the sail, it was clear that he didn’t know how to windsurf. Something you learn early about windsurfing is that if you don’t sail with the tide, the swell will take you down wind, and you won’t end up where you started. You could end up anywhere, and in this case, the wind was taking this guy out to sea.

As I was looking out from my balcony, I saw this man heading out to sea. I knew what was going to happen because I know windsurfing, and I knew the guys who gave him the equipment didn’t. So I went down to where the equipment was, and told the guys who had a boat that this man was in bad shape. They tell me, “He’s okay, he’s a strong swimmer.” I tried, but I couldn’t convey to them that there was a problem.

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