A Florida company has apologized for firing a lifeguard who ventured outside his section to help a man who nearly drowned.

On Thursday, the Orlando-based company that lifeguard Tomas Lopez worked for, Jeff Ellis Management, reconsidered its decision to dismiss him.

“He’s a good employee, and I believe he was performing to his conscience,” said his employer, Jeff Ellis. “I thought he showed a lot of courage in what he did originally, and definitely we would like to have him back to work.”

But Lopez declined.

“I told them, ‘I appreciate the apology, but I’m going to humbly decline your invitation.’ I’m going to continue my education,” he said.

While on duty at Hallandale Beach in south Florida on Monday, Tomas Lopez ran to the aid of a man who was struggling in an area outside Lopez’s zone, The Associated Press reports.

Witnesses had already pulled the distressed man out of the water by the time Lopez arrived on the scene.

Lopez and an off-duty nurse assisted the man before paramedics arrived and transported him to hospital. The man survived.

Soon after, Lopez was fired.

His firing prompted at least two lifeguards to quit in protest, and sparked widespread condemnation.

With files from The Associated Press