Am I The As*hole for making a teenage girl weigh herself at the top of a waterslide?
I work as a lifeguard at a waterpark and part of my job includes managing the top of the waterslides. I’m to make sure no one does anything dangerous like going face first, cramming too many people on one innertube, etc. I’m also instructed to ask anyone who looks like they could be over the weight limit–250 pounds–to weigh themselves on our scale, and deny them entry if they refuse. I’m not super comfortable with this, but it’s much better than risking people’s safety.
Here lies the problem: I lift weights, and for this reason I am very dense–I weigh 185 pounds but somehow wear a size 6. Most of my friends also lift and have similar body compositions to me. For this reason I have trouble estimating how much someone actually weighs.
This problem presented itself last weekend when an overweight teenage girl wanted to ride the slide. She most likely wasn’t over 250 pounds, but I couldn’t be certain. I’ve gotten better at estimating weights but my supervisor says if there’s any chance they’re over 250 to weigh them, so I approached her gently and asked her to please get on the scale.
She met me with a snarky teenager attitude and said “what if I refuse?” She was with a group of teenagers, some of whom were giggling.
“Then you won’t be allowed on the slide,” I said matter-of-factly.
She rolled her eyes and got on the scale, and her weight wasn’t even close to 250 so I felt kind of bad. She then said “See?” and went along with her friends.
Although she gave me attitude I could tell she was embarrassed. Her face was red as she went back to her friends, who were all thin. I asked my supervisor how he would have handled the situation and he said I did the right thing, that it’s better to hurt someone’s feelings than break someone’s bones.
However, yesterday I was called into the office of the owner of the waterpark. She told me she received an angry email from a parent about how I embarrassed their child in front of her friends. I explained to her that I was just following protocol and she asked me how much the girl actually weighed. I gave her the answer and she laughed at me and told me I could never get a job as a weight guesser at a carnival and that I need to do my job better. My supervisor is backing me up and saying I was doing what he has required me to do. I’m thankful for his support but honestly this whole situation is making me feel like an a**hole. I know teenage girls are a particularly vulnerable population, as I was a teenage girl not too long ago, and I could have possibly handled that situation with more care. But at the same time safety is my first priority.
Does that make me the a**hole?