Mom says 3-year-old served alcohol on cruise - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Mom says 3-year-old served alcohol on cruise

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A Memorial Day dinner cruise turned into a nightmare for one military family after Army specialist Bingyan Cai said her 3-year-old son, Michael, was accidentally served alcohol aboard the Alii Kai Catamaran on Saturday, May 26.

The child was playful today at Neal Blaisdell Park, but his mom said there was no fun the night of the dinner cruise because her son could have died after drinking vodka in his orange juice.

"If he had drunk the whole 12 ounces it could have been very fatal for him at this age," said Cai.

Michael's active duty mom who's stationed in Hawaii said she had ordered two pineapple juices and an orange juice for her son. But about half way into his drink, she noticed he was getting flush and acting unruly. She took pictures of the changes.

"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', said Cai. "He was just so wild, so full of energy and tried to run here and there but couldn't even stand straight."

Cai said she became suspicious of the drink, and tried it and even had other family members taste it as well as nearby tourists. Then, she said, after confirming it was indeed vodka, Cai alerted the server who then notified the manager. But Cai complained that the response was severely lacking.

She said she was given a bottle of water and no offer of any medical attention or formal apology and no follow up at the end of the cruise.

"And then one of the servers walked to me and approached me and said be hush, hush and don't get too loud, cause we don't want other tourists to know and ruin the whole boat for the whole night," said Cai. "But you already ruined my night."

Cai continued, "But what I'm really mad at, is that they could have shown more care. You know, I mean, I know you care about your business, but at the same time you should care about the tourists or the customers too."

Cai had her son checked out an acute care center on Schofield Barracks the next day but said she had yet to schedule a blood test for her son. The Army Mental Health Specialist added that she has no plans to sue the company but has notified the Honolulu Liquor Commission and wants to see changes made to the Alii Kai operations so this doesn't happen again.

In a written response today from Roberts Hawaii which manages the Alii Kai dinner cruise, the company's Safety Officer Jennifer Hill wrote,

"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 & beverage operations to identify what else can be done and we are committed to making additional changes as needed to improve."

As far as the Alii Kai's medical protocol, Robert's Hawaii responded:

"Our on-board personnel are certified to administer CPR and first aid for life-threatening situations requiring immediate action such as choking and heart attacks. Once a medical emergency is determined, our procedure is to notify the proper medical assistance groups on shore and return immediately to the dock."

Cai said, Robert's Hawaii agreed to her request to refund about $280 the family spent on the Alii Kai dinner cruise and offered her a future trip, but she says she's unlikely to take it. And came to the media to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"I want to raise public attention first of all," said Cai. "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."

In the end, Cai warns all parents to beware when dining out and to check your children's drinks when they're served.

"Right now, if I take my son to any restaurant I will always test taste before I let him drink it," she said.

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