Little did an Indianapolis 10-year-old suspect what he would be getting for his birthday when his parents took him to Olive Garden: sick.
A video report from FOX 4 News in Kansas City reveals that the 40-ounce Frullato Smoothie served to the child was not non-alcoholic, as ordered. Instead, the waitress had brought him the “adult” version of the drink, which is spiked with rum.
The waitress, upon realizing her mistake, reported it to her manager. But she didn’t notify the family. The parents figured out for themselves that something was wrong when the child began exhibiting strange behavior. “His eyes were changing,” the boy’s father told reporters. “He was feeling sick to his stomach and didn’t want to eat no more.”
The parents took their child to an area hospital, where tests revealed he had alcohol in his system. A police officer on the scene described the boy as “alert” but “shaken up.”
A spokeswoman for the chain, Heidi Schauer, said in a statement:
We find this situation completely unacceptable. We are thankful that the child is okay and we will continue to work with the family to resolve this issue.
She added that the restaurant has terminated the waitress who tendered the liquor-laden drink.
Schauer could have saved herself some work. Instead of drafting an original statement for the press, she could have used this one instead:
We take the responsibility that comes with serving alcohol seriously. This was an extremely regrettable accident caused by the failure of an employee to follow our strict operating procedures. We take this situation very seriously, and we are especially grateful that the child involved was not seriously harmed. We have absolutely no tolerance for failure to follow our operating procedures and we took swift, appropriate action to deal with this situation. We are also taking immediate steps to reinforce our standards.
It was delivered last April by another Olive Garden spokesman, Rich Jeffers, after a branch of the chain in Lakeland, Florida, served “tropical sangria,” which contains wine, to a 2-year-old whose parents had ordered him an orange juice.