Outback Serves Toddler Booze, Makes More Helicopter Parents

OutbackHere we go again. Another restaurant in a national chain has been accused of giving a little kid booze. Once is an accident. Twice a coincidence. Now I'm getting scared of what's to come. This time it was an Outback in Ohio, where 4-year-old Gracie Kerwin's mom says the toddler got a snootful of peach schnapps and vodka thanks to an idiot server.

Here's what I don't get. A pregnant woman so much as walks into a bar, and the people go all judgearoo. But a toddler wants a slushy drink loaded down with the hooch, and no one raises an eyebrow? Priorities, folks! Priorities!


Kelly Kerwin says they were handing out little slushie drinks in condiment cups to folks waiting for a table. Kerwin's sister asked if there was any alcohol in them, and the server said no. So they all drank up. I don't blame them really. Kids get antsy when they're waiting in line. Give 'em something to down, and they're a lot easier to handle. The other patrons like that.

But of course despite being all smart and asking if the drinks were virgin, they found out what was really in there ... after Gracie had her first taste of the good stuff. They're obviously upset, and I would be too. If you'll recall, this has happened not just at Outback, but at Olive Garden and Applebee's this year. You'd think all nationwide chains would be on hyper alert after the media bonanza that was the first two incidents.

But seeing as my kid isn't the one who got liquored up, here's what really bugs me. What happens when our kids actually want alcohol? When they've moved past the toddler stage when they just take what Mommy gives them, and will let out a loud "yuck" if they taste something out of the ordinary. What about when they're teenagers eager to try getting tipsy?

If all these restaurant servers are so willing to play fast and loose with the rules, who exactly is guarding the hen house? Not only did they (allegedly) lie to this family, but obviously no one checked Kelly Kerwin or her sister for ID before handing over an alcoholic beverage. I'm the mother of a 6-year-old, and I got ID'd Saturday night when I tried to buy a beer at a concert (yes, I'm legal, and yes, they were doing their jobs -- this isn't a complaint, folks!). I always thought that was pretty standard, but apparently not.

I'd prefer not to be a helicopter parent who doesn't trust my kid to step out of my sight. I don't want to taste everything put in front of my little kid like some guinea pig who works to protect a head of state. But now I'm on edge, and I will be for a good long time. I can protect my little kid with a quick taste test. But who wants to send their 16-year-old out with her friends for a bloomin' onion if places like the Outback can't get a handle on who is allowed alcohol and who isn't?

Does this "mistake" worry you?


Image via soeperbaby/Flickr

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