First Applebee's, now Olive Garden; Allegations of alcohol served to toddlers

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Screen capture from MyFoxOrlando.com

A Florida woman has said her 2-year-old son had to be taken to the hospital last month after he was served a white wine cocktail at Olive Garden, New York Daily News reports.

Jill Van Heest said she was eating with her son, Nikolai, at a Lakeland, Fla. Olive Garden on March 31 when the young boy started to act odd after finishing what she thought was an orange juice.

“We’re eating our meals when the waiter came over and said there’s been a mistake, I need to get you a new one and took the glass and kind of scurried away,” Van Heest reportedly told WOFL television in Orlando.

As the boy started to get rowdy, Van Heest became suspicious that her son’s cup contained more than juice.

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“He was visibly drunk,” Van Heest told WOFL. “His eyes were dilated, they were red. He was now getting loud.”

She then learned the juice was actually a sangria cocktail, which not only contains orange and pineapple juice but also white wine.

Nikolai was taken to a nearby hospital to receive an I.V. to flush the alcohol out of his system. He was released within a few hours.

Van Heest has since requested her son’s medical records to find out her son’s blood alcohol content following the incident.

An Olive Garden spokesperson has expressed their apologies regarding the incident.

“This was an extremely regrettable accident caused by the failure of an employee to follow our strict operating procedures,” spokesman Rich Jeffers reportedly told WOFL. “We offer our sincerest apologies to the family of the child, and all of our guests.”

Van Heest’s report of the Olive Garden incident comes less than a week after a Detroit Applebee’s admitted to accidentally serving a margarita to a 15-month-old boy. The boy’s parents had believed their son, Taylor Dill-Reese, was drinking apple juice but quickly realized something was off when he began “saying hi and bye to the walls” and passed out at the table, reports New York Daily News.

Doctors found Dill-Reese had a blood alcohol content of .10, which is higher than the legal limit for an adult to drive a car. The boy is now fine.

Applebee’s has apologized for the Detroit incident and has said that it will change its policy for serving drinks to children.

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