A Hawaiian dinner cruise turned into a family's worst nightmare after waiters served a three-year-old toddler alcohol, according to local TV station Hawaii News Now.
Three-year-old Michael was with his parents on the Alii Kai Catamaran when he was served vodka in his orange juice, his mother, Bingyam Cai, alleges.
"If he had drunk the whole 12 ounces, it could have been very fatal for him at this age," she told Hawaii News Now.
When the boy was halfway through his drink, his mother noticed his face was getting flush and he was "acting unruly." "His whole ears, his neck. I don't know if he's allergic to alcohol. He just got really red and he just kept mumbling, 'Momma it's hot, it's hot,'" she said. "He was just so wild, so full of energy and tried to run here and there but couldn't even stand straight."
The mother then tasted the drink, and, confirming there was vodka in it, told the server, who reported it to the manager. Yet she was given water by waiters and told not to make a fuss so as not to distract tourists from having a good time, according to the Associated Press.
The family doesn't plan to sue, they just don't want it happening again.
"I want to raise public attention first of all," Michael's mom said. "If you review the situation, then Alii Kai cruise will try to handle it more seriously instead of just 'hush, hush.' I want their whole server system to change."
The company that runs the trips, Roberts Hawaii, wrote an apology.
We sincerely regret and are mortified at the error. We have had an alcohol safety procedure in place for 20 years and this is the first time we have had an incident like this. Once our crew realized what had happened, their immediate focus was on the well-being of our guest; we are pleased and relieved that he is okay. Roberts Hawaii's highest priority is the safety of our guests. We have taken a number of immediate actions to ensure such an incident does not ever happen again, including changing our beverage containers so it will be much easier to differentiate the alcoholic beverages from the non-alcoholic ones, and holding additional staff training and meetings. We are also reviewing all other aspects of our food [and] beverage operations to identify what else can be done and we are committed to making additional changes as needed to improve.
The Associated Press reports that the company is also refunding the cost of the family's cruise.
Several restaurants have served way underage children alcohol in the past year. In April, an Indianapolis Olive Garden allegedly served a rum cocktail to a 10-year-old boy. Last year, a Florida Olive Garden, a Chicago Applebee's and a Cincinnati-area Outback all served children drinks with alcohol in them.