One April day Siyona Gharibian, a lifeguard at the Glendale YMCA found a man unconscious on the basketball court. She dialed the police and sprung to action. She gave him CPR, located a defibrillator and shocked him twice.
When first responders got there they were able to help the man further, and take him to the hospital. He was treated and made a full recovery. Gharibian, the fighters, and police who responded to her call were all honored on Wednesday at the Glendale Fire Department’s annual awards luncheon.
One of the firefighters who was awarded at the ceremony stated that, “I go to work and give 110% because I love what I do… It’s nice to be recognized for it.”
When thinking of utilitarianism, duty, and supererogatory acts one must wonder if any of these people should be honored at all. Indeed the things they did were amazing, but it was what they were supposed to do. It’s their job. Doing what they did is obligatory in their professions. Now, even if they were just regular people at the YMCA just for recreational purposes under the lens of utilitarianism everyone’s being is equally important, so helping the unresponsive man should be on everybody’s agenda.
The fact that the people who helped the man are trained to do so, does not fit into the box that is labeled supererogatory actions. I think we have to ask ourselves, should people receive recognition for a job well done? I feel utilitarianism would say no, but I say yes. Even if it is a part of someone’s job description to try their hardest to save someone else’s life, unfortunately not many people do the job well, or put as much care and attention into as these people did.