When you’re on vacation no one likes rude surprises. Ever more so when you’re toting around a three-year old. A Memorial Day dinner cruise in Hawaii morphed into such an event for a military family after Army specialist Bingyan Cai said her 3-year-old son, Michael, was accidentally served alcohol aboard the Alii Kai Catamaran.
When Michael was halfway through his drink, his mother noticed his face was getting flush and he was “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,’” she said. “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 herself. She went as far as having other family members taste it as well as nearby tourists. After confirming it was spiked with vodka, Cai alerted the server who then notified the manager. Management’s response seems to have been a bit lacking.
She was given a bottle of water and not much else. No apology, no offer for medical aid, and not much in the way of sympathy. “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.”
Her son got a check up on base the next day. The family has no plans to sue (amazing) but wants to be sure that nothing like this happens to anyone else. Sounds pretty fair to me. “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 a written response today from Roberts Hawaii, operators of 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.”
Responding to the general lack of care that seemed to be administered they continued:
“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.”
“If he had drunk the whole 12 ounces, it could have been very fatal for him at this age,” she told Hawaii News Now.