Seventeen-year-old John Clark of Vancouver, Wash., knew what to do when he saw a boy struggling to stay afloat in the surf off the Oregon coast.
The trained pool lifeguard jumped through the breakers and heavy swells to reach the boy in the ocean, reports KOIN-TV. Clark then calmed the boy and kept him afloat until watercraft arrived to take them to shore.
"I don't know exactly how big the swells were," Clark told the TV station, "but they were big enough to push both of us underwater—all the way down to where we were touching sand."
An ambulance came and took the 12-year-old boy, wrapped in a towel, and Clark—who complained of a headache—to the hospital.
Clark thought it was standard procedure until a few weeks later when he was shocked at the bill from the hospital.
The emergency room bill came to $449. The physician's bill was $227. The 15-mile ride in the ambulance was $1,907. The total bill for saving a young man's life was nearly $2,600.
"I had a feeling there would be a bill," Clark told the news station. "But I didn't know how much it would be, and I kind of feel bad for the fact that it's so expensive. But I couldn't just let the kid go—I had to do something."
He and his family are making arrangements to pay the bill.