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Posted: March 24, 2015

Toddler served alcohol because of 'human error,' restaurant says

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By WSOC-TV – Charlotte, N.C.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. —

An Asheville, North Carolina, restaurant is responding to reports that a 2-year-old girl was served alcohol there, Charlotte's WSOC-TV reports.

A family went to a Texas Roadhouse on Friday to celebrate Derek Gilliam’s 25th birthday. They ordered food and nonalcoholic drinks, including cranberry juice for their daughter, Gabriella.

They said Gabriella drank it, and it tasted funny. That’s when the parents tried it and noticed something was off.

It turns out Gabriella was served sangria.

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"I had to rub her belly the whole night, and she slept with us because I was scared that she might not wake up – that she'd choke on her throw-up and not wake up,” her mother, Tiffany Gilliam, told Asheville’s ABC affiliate WLOS. “It was the most horrible feeling ever."

The parents immediately took her to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed her with accidental alcohol ingestion.

"She was staggering, and she was kissing everything," Tiffany Gilliam said.

Family members said she is doing better now, but it was a scary couple of days leading to little sleep.

A Texas Roadhouse spokesperson claims the child sipped the product at 8:30 p.m. The family called 911 at 9:30 p.m. Gabriella was taken to the hospital via ambulance around 10 p.m., and the restaurant’s manager went with the family. The spokesperson said they left the hospital about 11:45 p.m., more than three hours after the toddler sipped the sangria.

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“Unfortunately, we did accidentally serve sangria to the child,” the restaurant said in an email Monday. “We are 100 percent in error, and our employees have owned up to that fact. Our processes and procedures are designed to prevent this from happening, but unfortunately, human error occurred.”

Although Gabriella’s family said she suffered from accidental alcohol ingestion, the restaurant said doctors released the toddler with no effects of alcohol.

Texas Roadhouse said it is taking this incident as an opportunity to “look for ways to make our systems even better in order to prevent this from ever happening again.” 

It will be an incident the Gilliams will not soon forget.

"It was very scary. I mean me, my mom, his mom – we were all in tears. I don't want that to ever happen to anybody else's child," Tiffany Gilliam said.

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