Police in North Carolina have launched an investigation after an Applebee’s restaurant was accused of serving a 3-year-old child an alcoholic beverage.
According to WRAL, a 3-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy were both taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center on Sunday after they reportedly consumed drinks that contained alcohol.
In a mix-up, the children were reportedly served alcohol drinks that were supposed to be “virgin” beverages.
McKenneth Kirkman Sr., of Fayetteville, said he took his family to eat at the Applebee's restaurant to celebrate both Mother’s Day and a family member’s recent birthday.
Kirkman reportedly ordered virgin pina coladas for his son and granddaughter, but when the 13-year-old boy took a taste of his drink, he immediately thought “it tasted funny.”
That’s when Kirkman took a sip and instantly tasted alcohol in the drink.
After telling the family’s server and calling the police, Kirkman realized that his 3-year-old granddaughter had already gulped down about half of her drink.
"It was very scary,” Cheryl Kirkman, the mother of one of the children and grandmother of the other, said. “I was frightened. Her mother was frightened because she gasped for air."
Just a few hours after the incident, both children were reportedly discharged from the hospital.
Fayetteville Police Department Sgt. P. Davis said officers have since interviewed the staff to figure out what happened.
“There was some sort of miscommunication between the waitress and bartender,” Davis said. “We don’t believe there was ill intent.”
According WSOC-TV, this is not the first time there has been an alcohol-related incident at this particular Applebee’s restaurant.
In 2015, the restaurant was reportedly fined for serving a 5-year-old child an alcoholic beverage that was meant to be a virgin drink.
WSOC-TV shared this story on Facebook, where many commenters shot down others who tried to blame the children’s parents for ordering the drinks in the first place.
“Kids LOVE a good Shirley temple or pina colada!!! I see nothing wrong with that... sorry... raise your kid with some self respect and common sense and they will more than likely, make good decisions about life...,” one commenter wrote.
“Give me a break..we ordered a Shirley temple for my grandson..We made it clear that it was a virgin drink..The bartender is trained to make virgin drinks..What if it was an older person who couldn't have alcohol,that ordered a virgin drink..They need to train their bartenders staff to be professionals..,,My grandson was given a drink with alcohol,and I tasted it and realized it had alcohol in it..He had taken a sip,so we called the doctor..People order Shirley temples all the time,so this should not have happened..Applebee's took the appropriate action with the bartenders..It was their fault,if they can't read and comprehend an order,they shouldn't be a bartender..My suggestion is that an adult at the table take a taste of the drink before giving it to the child,or go to the bar and talk to the bartender while he is making the drink..Alcohol lowers a child's blood sugar..so it must be dealt with quickly..We were not idiots for ordering a non alcoholic Shirley temple..the bartender was the idiot..,” another added.