Generally, you're not greeted with an offensive message when you do a beverage company a solid by purchasing their product. We guess Vitaminwater missed that etiquette class. Yahoo News recently reported that Coca-Cola issued an apology to the Loates Family of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, after their daughter Blake purchased a Vitaminwater with a particularly offensive message in the bottle cap. Blake Loates told Metro Calgary that she was shocked when she opened her beverage and read the words "YOU RETARD" written inside the cap. One of the Loates' younger sisters, Fiona, 11, has cerebral palsy and autism.
Yahoo reported that the father, Frank Loates, who lives in Tacoma, Wash., wrote a strongly worded letter to Coca-Cola, who bought Glaceau, the maker of Vitaminwater, in May of 2007 for $4.2 billion. Loates has reportedly sworn off the beverage company for life, and we can see why. Deeply affected by the hurtful words that resonated due to his daughter’s disabilities, in his letter Loates scathed, "What would you do if you opened up your bottle of Vitaminwater and on the bottom of the lid it read, "YOU RETARD"?. Think about it. I bet you'd be pissed off if you had a Fiona in your life… Can you imagine if SHE had opened this bottle?"
It appears Coca-Cola is accepting responsibility for the mishap, but claims the language inside of the cap was from a competition pairing one random English word with a second random French word. Although in English "retard" is exceptionally politically incorrect, in French it means "delayed," "late," or "slow." Things may have gotten lost in translation but Shannon Denny, director of brand communications for Coca-Cola Refreshment Canada told ABC News, "We have spoken to the family to offer our sincerest apologies and to explain the production process to them. This is certainly not an excuse in any way for what has occurred. We wanted them to know that this was in no way intentional and was a mistake on our part during the review process. We also wanted to share that the promotion has since been canceled and we are no longer producing bottles with those caps."
Even after the apology, we may be steering clear of Vitaminwater next time we need to quench our thirst…